Goaler Steph Wood has been announced as the vice-captain of the Australian Diamonds alongside captain Liz Watson.
Wood made her Diamonds debut in 2016 against South Africa during the 2016 Quad Series, and has 30 caps to her name.
She was shocked by the announcement, but is excited to go on the journey with this Diamonds team.
“It’s just when you get named vice captain of your country and we are number one in the world you just kind of don’t have many words,” Wood said.
“I’m pretty sure I was shaking and crying… now being a little bit older, I was always the young one and I was looking up to the previous people in the team.
“It was nice to be recognised by my peers that they do see me as a leader and it is something that I do need to work on, actually owning the fact that I am a leader now.
“It was a bit of shock being named but something I’m excited to go on the journey with.”
The way that Wood stands up in the big moments and leads out on court was what stood out to her peers and the people around her.
Though it was a surprise, it hasn’t come as a result of doing anything different. She’s recognising those qualities in herself that others see in her.
“I don’t know if it’s a turning point, just having a few conversations as people [have] always said I lead on court,” Wood said.
“That’s a role I do love to take. I love when the game is getting close, getting the ball in my hand and taking that ownership there.
“It’s just the off court stuff that I haven’t seen myself as a leader but that’s something that I do need to work on.
“Really excited to be in this role and learn from Liz [Watson] and also work with Stacey [Marinkovich], because I think we have a very exciting group and we get along off court really well which I think bodes well for us on court.”
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With the likes of Cara Koenen, Sophie Garbin and Sophie Dwyer coming into the Diamonds fold over the last year, Wood is embracing the experience of being able to pass her knowledge on to the next generation of Diamonds shooters.
“I’m definitely one of the older ones now in the shooting circle, but I’m learning from them just as much as I’m sure they can learn from me,” she said.
“So just passing on any knowledge, if they have any questions or if there is something I can see that I can help them with I’ll do that for them as well.”
Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich said that Wood and Watson’s appointment was backed by the playing group.
“Huge support from the playing group,” Marinkovich said.
“It was an all-encompassing process looking at what the players saw in terms of our leadership qualities, and these girls… they have a huge passion for the Diamonds to be successful.
“I think what they understand is leadership isn’t all on their shoulders, but it’s being able to take a group on a journey with them and being able to get a consistent performance out on court. Understanding that they have strengths and understanding what their journey has been as a player and then being able to bring that to the table.
“With Steph being able to give and receive feedback and hold that accountability in the training environment, and with Liz making sure the standard of performance and calmness out on court but the ability to speak to the game plan.”
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