KEEN: Diamonds and Lightning player Steph Wood is excited to hit the court at the Netball World Cup today.
KEEN: Diamonds and Lightning player Steph Wood is excited to hit the court at the Netball World Cup today. JOEL CARRETT

Lightning's Wood excited for Netball World Cup challenge

NETBALL: Sunshine Coast Lightning goal attack Steph Wood says she is savouring the chance to make her maiden appearance in the sport's pinnacle event.

The 27-year-old has been a proud Australian Diamond since August 2016 and will hit the court at her first Netball World Cup today against Northern Ireland.

She'd been buoyed by the work her side had put in before departing for the event in England and looked forward to putting her skills to the test.

"It's really exciting, it is the pinnacle of netball so to get to go over to the England and play my first, and who knows if it's my last world cup, is something pretty special," Wood told the Daily just prior to departure.

"I just want to go over there and do anything possible to bring home that cup."

She expected a fierce competition, with any team boasting the talent to not only test but push the Diamonds for results on the court.

"It's definitely not going to be smooth sailing and we'd be really naïve to think that," she said.

"I think there's heaps of countries that really can give everyone a run for their money...So, you really have to bring your A game to every game that you play," she said.

"I think that's really cool that this world cup is going to be highly contested and it's not just a few games that are going to be quite tight, you'll be able to watch lots of games that are going to be really good netball.

"And I think that's a product of what the SSN (Suncorp Super Netball) has done to international netball."

She said the Diamonds had prepared for all the 'what ifs' that the world cup, held every four years, may produce.

"People have pointed out we only have three from the last world cup but there is a quite a lot of experience in this team and we've been together for a number of years now so we know how each other play," Wood said.

Although she'd been in the side since late 2016 and featured in plenty of international battles, including the Commonwealth Games, Wood said she still felt the nerves when donning the green and gold.

"I actually feel quite new and I think that's really cool in that I feel comfortable with all the girls but there's still this excitement factor and we're constantly evolving which I think is really important in sport and you are definitely tested in this environment," she said. Other Lightning players set to feature at the world cup include Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni (South Africa), Laura Langman (New Zealand), and Peace Proscovia (Uganda).