Sunshine Coast Lightning has announced Ashleigh Ervin has signed on for the 2024 Suncorp Super Netball season.

At just 20 years of age, the 192cm defender received her first professional contract in 2023 with Lightning and proved she was ready for the elite level — impressing fans with her ability to compete with and shut down some of the best goal shooters in the league.

Ervin grew up on the Gold Coast and made her way through the Netball Queensland pathways, most recently playing for the Bond University Bullsharks in the HART Sapphire Series and the Australian Netball Championships side, Sunshine Coast Lightning Bolts.

She has also caught the eye of the national team selectors, and was invited to join the Origin Australian Diamonds 2023-2024 squad at the Constellation Cup training camp as an invitee.

Lightning Head Coach Belinda Reynolds said Ervin’s rookie year was impressive, and believes she’s only going to continue to improve.

“Ash is a very exciting young player who really stood up and delivered in her first year of SSN. She took every opportunity with two hands and always gave it her all when she stepped onto court,” she said.

“Her height is incredibly important for us in the defensive end, and her footwork and smarts have really impressed me. It’s been fantastic to see her grow so much in a short period of time, and I’m looking forward to see her continue that in 2024.”

Ervin said there were a number of factors that went into her decision to stay with Lightning, and was excited for the season ahead.

“My decision to sign with Lightning for 2024 was an easy one. After joining the club for 2023, I hoped from the very start I would be re-offered a contract. The club, coaching staff, the girls and the overall culture is what drew me in. I also love that I can remain a Queenslander and be near my family,” she said.

“I had a couple of conversations with B throughout the season to track my progress and talk about the years ahead for Lightning. I felt they were pretty positive, so when B officially said she wanted me again, it was definitely a relief (I’m not sure if it’s fully sunk in yet). B and Jeno have shown a lot of faith in me, and I really want to repay them with my full commitment for this coming season. I’m really looking forward to what this team holds for 2024 — there are some really exciting players joining, and I think Lightning fans should feel comfortable knowing this team is looking strong.

“The 2023 team created the foundations of an amazing club and culture, now it’s time to look at what this new group for the 2024 season can do. I think we have something really special.”

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