Sunshine Coast Lightning’s Stephanie Wood continues to take steps to return from a knee injury that required surgery, and kept her out of the recent Constellation Cup in New Zealand.
Wood said her recovery is going well, after returning to the court for the first time in months.
“Really good, back on court, still feel kind of like a baby giraffe but definitely stepping in the right direction,” she said.
“Hoping to be, well I will be, ready for round one.”
The injury unfortunately kept Wood out of the Diamonds side for the recent tour to New Zealand and Wood said it was disappointing to miss out, not just on the tour, but on teammate Cara Koenan’s debut.
“I really wanted to be on that tour, it’s a really exciting time at the Diamonds with a new coach, some really exciting players,” she said.
“But personally just with Cara, I’ve played with her since she was a baby giraffe at 18-years-old so it would have been very special to be there to see it [Koenan’s debut] but watched it from afar and definitely had a little bit of tears when she stepped out on court.”
Although the Diamonds came up short in the Series against the Silver Ferns, Wood saw plenty of positives from the tour.
“I think there was lots of positive signs,” she said.
“I think it was exciting, that attacking line is very young and I think it’s the future of the Diamonds as well.
“Cara and Kiera [Austin] were both debutants but they did not look out of place at international level.
“While disappointing to not walk away with the Constellation Cup, positive signs all across the court and I think we’re heading in the right direction.”
As she continues her recovery, Wood is looking to get some minutes during the pre-season for the Lightning.
“The aim is to play some pre-season games,” she said.
“It might not be full games- words that Noels’ [Noeline Taurua] would always say is ‘don’t save the world too early.’
“Looking definitely to participate in some of the pre-season matches, with being fully fit for round one.
In round one of SSN, the Lightning take on Collingwood, and Wood is getting prepared to match up with what she calls ‘a quality team,’ in the Magpies.
“They’ve got quality players all across the court, and they’ve got a new coach, so who knows what she can bring,” she said.
“While in previous years they may not have been in top four and they might have been sitting further down the ladder, they’re not someone you can take lightly.
“They can turn it on and wipe the floor with you, so we’ve got to be prepped for round one and make sure we don’t leave no stone unturned.”