Sunshine Coast Lightning shooters Steph Wood and Cara Koenen will embark on their first international campaign side by side, with the pair today named in the 2021/22 Australian Diamonds lineup.
Netball Australia today announced the five shooters in the Diamonds team, with Wood and Koenen joined by Gretel Bueta (Queensland Firebirds), Sophie Garbin (Collingwood SN) and Sophie Dwyer (GIANTS Netball).
The Lightning duo will travel abroad for the 2022 Quad Series in January, which was confirmed earlier this week, in preparation for the Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham in July of next year.
While Wood has been an Australian mainstay since 2015, Koenen made her Diamonds debut earlier this year in the Constellation Cup, named Most Valuable Player in just her second international match.
The pair are yet to represent the country in the same tournament, with Wood ruled out through injury for the series earlier this year.
The privilege of representing Australia never wears off for Wood, who said she’s eager for the Diamonds to compete for the Gold Medal next year.
“Getting that call from the Australian Coach is always emotional and being selected for the Diamonds team is something I’ll never take for granted,” Wood said.
“I’m so excited to get out there again and be playing for Australia, and to have Cara by my side is extra special.
“There’s hard work to be done but I know this team will do everything in our power to get back on top in international netball and put out a strong brand of netball.”
This will be the first tournament where Wood also carries the added responsibility of being the Diamonds’ Vice Captain.
Koenen said she was thrilled to again receive the call up to the Diamonds side and is eager to see how she can contribute to the Australian side.
“It’s such an honour to make the Diamonds team and I just want to work hard now and best prepare for the Quad Series in January,” Koenen said.
“It was disappointing when our Diamonds matches were called off in recent months, so now having a competitive series to look forward to just adds to the motivation.”
The remaining Diamonds lineup will be announced in the coming days.