Sunshine Coast Lightning has announced the appointment of highly rated young Queensland defender Ashleigh Ervin in the 10th Lightning squad position for the 2023 Suncorp Super Netball season.

Standing at a towering 192cm, the current Firebirds Training Partner has been elevated to a permanent SSN contract after the retirement of Lightning defender Kate Walsh, last month.

Head Coach Belinda Reynolds is confident Ervin will step into the position well after the 19-year-old delivered a standout performance at the 2022 Australian National Championships, ending the tournament with the most deflections (33), second-most gains (35) and third-most intercepts (15).

“I am really excited to have secured Ashleigh as our replacement player for Kate,” Reynolds said.

“Ash is a tall athletic defender who reads the play extremely well.

“I watched her perform exceptionally well at this year’s Australian Netball Championships and she is an exciting prospect in the Australian netball pathway.

“I can’t wait to get to work with Ash in the new year.”

Ervin said she’s excited to move to the Sunshine Coast to take on the biggest opportunity of her career.

“I can’t really put into words how I felt when I got the phone call from Belinda. I guess to sum it up was just pure excitement and the tears came very quickly after,” Ervin said.

“I hope to repay the faith Lightning have shown in me by stepping up at the SSN level and playing my role in building on the Club’s success through to a premiership.

“There are so many players I look up to at Lightning, so I plan to soak up as much information from them during training as I can.

“I really appreciate the foundation Firebirds have allowed me to build and I feel ready to take on Suncorp Super Netball.

Sunshine Coast Lightning’s full playing squad in 2023 is as follows: Steph Wood, Cara Koenen, Laura Scherian, Mahalia Cassidy, Charlie Bell (replacement), Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Tara Hinchliffe, Reilley Batcheldor (injured), Annie Miller, Karla Pretorius, and Ashleigh Ervin.

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