Melbourne Storm Group now sole owners of Lightning netball

Nelson Asofa-Solomona and the Melbourne Storm celebrate one of 12 tries scored against the Wests Tigers at Sunshine Coast Stadium. Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Melbourne Storm Group have tightened their grip on the Sunshine Coast by becoming sole owners of the regions' Super Netball club, the Lightning.

The University of the Sunshine Coast has opted to step back from a co-ownership model and instead become the principal partner of the Lightning.

Since joining the Super Netball competition in 2017, Sunshine Coast have featured in three Grand Finals, winning back-to-back premierships in 2017 and 2018, and never finished lower than fourth.

Melbourne's NRL boss Justin Rodski said the Sunshine Coast was a second home for the club after the team spent the bulk of the past two seasons based there due to COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria.

"We have made clear that we want to maintain our commitment to the Sunshine Coast market, which includes our rugby league recruitment and pathways programs, and partnership with the Sunshine Coast Falcons," Rodski said in a statement.

"The Coast has also become a 'home away from home' for the team over the last two COVID affected NRL seasons.

"Moving to sole ownership of Lightning will allow us to further leverage that connection across both elite sporting codes.

"Lightning is an integral part of the Storm Group, adding geographic and gender diversity to our unique portfolio offering, while upholding the same values around people, community and elite success."

Under the new principal partnership, USC will have branding rights on the front and back of the Lightning team's dress, and the club will remain based at USC Stadium.

Players will also have access to USC's high-performance facilities for training, expertise and research.