Wood says hook did her good
LIGHTNING sharpshooter Steph Wood says getting benched by Sunshine Coast mastercoach Noeline Taurua snapped her out of a post-World Cup funk and reignited her competitive fire heading into the Suncorp Super Netball finals.
The Australian Diamonds goal attack will be playing in her fifth consecutive national league decider on Sunday when the Lightning take on the NSW Swifts at Boondall in the 2019 Super Netball grand final.
Wood has been a central figure in the Lightning dynasty which is pushing for a hat-trick of championships on Sunday, but being a foundation player, two-time title winner and established international did not spare her from the hook in the round 13 clash with the Melbourne Vixens.
After hitting just one goal in the opening quarter, Taurua dragged Wood for the second term and let her stew on the bench before injecting her back into the match after halftime.
The next two matches, Wood had 22-goal outings at a high clip.
"Coming back from the World Cup, I had a bit of a down period and the motivation to play netball wasn't quite at 100 per cent,'' Wood said.
"It was against the Vixens when Noels (Taurua) benched me. I was sitting there on the sideline and I was just itching to get back out there.
"There was a real fire that came back and I have been enjoying the challenge of how hard the netball has been rather than getting frustrated.
"Noels is a mastermind. She didn't say much, she didn't necessarily give me a reason why I was benched, but after three years working together, I knew why.
"In previous years, it would have been easy to sulk if you got benched but we all understand there's a reason for it and you have to use that time watching the game and working out what you weren't doing correctly.''
Wood, a Pine Rivers junior, said Taurua "smashed" the Sunshine Coast squad during the week off while the Swifts and Vixens did battle in the preliminary final for the right to meet the Lightning in the season showpiece.
The Sunshine Coast's ability to mix up their attacking end with Cara Koenen and Peace Proscovia sharing the goalshooter duties alongside Wood at goal attack has been a reliable weapon all season, with the Lightning on a nine-game winning streak heading into the grand final.
"We can go to a moving circle with Cara while Peace is more of a traditional holding shooter, so there's a lot we can throw out there,'' Wood said.
"And it's not a risk. It gives us an attacking advantage because we can exploit different match-ups.''