Despite the loss of some big names, Sunshine Coast Lightning coach Noeline Taurua says she's more confident now than before either of her team's back-to-back Super Netball title-winning campaigns.
The Lightning have begun pre-season ahead of next year's championship defence as they get used to life without Caitlin Bassett or Geva Mentor.
Australian shooter Bassett has joined the GWS Giants for next season in a huge blow to the Lightning's hopes of a premiership three-peat.
English goal keeper Mentor - another pillar of the dual premiership-winning side - quit the club citing family reasons with speculation she could return to Melbourne to play for Collingwood or play in the UK in the lead-up to next year's World Cup.
Crucially, several members of the side have recommitted to the Lightning in 2019 including Australian representative Steph Wood while Silver Fern Laura Langman is back and Ugandan shooter Peace Proscovia is another new signing.
Taurua is bullish about her team's chances, saying she actually feels the Lightning are in a better position than the have been at the same stage in the past two years.
"Now that we've got two years under our belt we're clear - or I'm clear specifically - about the areas we need to work on and also what Lightning is about in our style of game out on court," Taurua told AAP.
"It seems like a warped way of thinking knowing that we have been successful but it's quite exciting now.
"Hopefully we can be a bit more proactive in our planning leading into the start of the competition instead of being on the back foot as we have been the last two years."
There's also been a big change for Taurua, after she was appointed New Zealand coach in August.
The ex-Silver Fern says she's found juggling the two roles manageable so far.
"Personally as a coach I find it quite stimulating," she said.
"What I learn in this environment I can definitely take into the Ferns and vice-versa.
"I'm still working through the final detail of what that actually means but we're lucky with the calendar and the programming that there's no clashes."
Australian Associated Press