Sunshine Coast Lightning star Steph Wood will represent the Australian Diamonds at the Netball World Cup later this month.
Sunshine Coast Lightning star Steph Wood will represent the Australian Diamonds at the Netball World Cup later this month. DAVE ACREE

Tears of joy as Wood learns of World Cup selection

NETBALL: Steph Wood leaves nothing to chance, so despite being an Australian Diamonds mainstay, she wasn't confident of being an assured selection.

Not even two-straight premierships and 20 Diamonds caps gave her confidence of going to the Netball World Cup.

So her reaction was emotional when she got the call from coach Lisa Alexander.

"I burst into tears," Wood said. "When I got inside everyone thought I hadn't made it.

"We were chatting about the new stadium and then she said 'right, down to business' and told me and the tears came.

"Any time you make an Australian team it gives you goosebumps.

"To play in the World Cup is the pinnacle, it's so special and I can't wait."

Lightning coach and soon to be Silver Ferns rival Noeline Taurua had no doubt Wood would be chosen.

Taurua said Wood's multi-faceted game and shooting circle "smarts" made it a "given".

"She has a point of difference to any other goal attack," Taurua said.

"For me, Steph is so smart. That playmaking skill and she has sassiness, which I love.

"Her attacking skills are sublime, she reads strategically what needs to happen and at another level.

"I think her ability to shoot long too. But also being one of those players who relishes pressure. You need that on the international scene."

Be it Caitlin Bassett or Gretel Tippet, Taurua knows Wood will get the best out of any circle partner.

"She feeds the GS so well, she is very complementary," she said.

"No matter who she is working with, it is all about the unit.

"Her combination with any shooter will be a strength for Diamonds.

"She plays three positions too, which will come into play with eight games in 10 days."

Both Taurua and Wood expressed sadness for teammate Laura Scherian who again missed out on selection.



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