Sunshine Coast Lightning’s shooting circle has been given a vote of confidence with both Cara Koenen and Steph Wood selected in the 2021 – 22 Origin Diamonds squad.
Netball Australia today announced the lineup ahead of the next cycle of their international campaign, leading into the Commonwealth Games in mid-2022.
Wood has been a mainstay in the Diamonds shooting circle since 2015, although was forced to sit out of the 2 most recent international series due to injury.
Her performances for Lightning this season confirmed she is still amongst the netball elite.
Koenen made her Diamonds debut earlier this year and immediately made a statement, with an MVP performance in just her second outing.
Lightning Head Coach was thrilled by her athletes’ selection in the squad once again.
“Both Cara and Steph are incredibly deserving of Diamonds selection after another strong season within our Club,” Byrne said.
“The last two seasons especially has seen the pair take their combination to the elite level and that can only benefit Australia on the international stage.
“Cara has grown monumentally in confidence since her first taste in the Constellation Cup earlier this year and as a Club we have absolutely loved watching that development and maturation.
“Steph re-claiming her place in the Australian side was never a question in my mind, she is one of the smartest and classiest players in the competition right now who thrives in those pressure situations.
“I look forward to watching them both in the green and gold representing their country and showcasing just how skilled netballers they truly are.
In addition to Wood and Koenen’s selection in the national team, Mahalia Cassidy has again been named in the National Development Squad.
“Mahalia is such an asset to our Lightning team and she is getting better and better with every opportunity on court,” Byrne said.
“Diversifying her skillset by adding Wing Defence to her repertoire can only make her more valuable to Lightning and representative sides moving forward and we can’t wait to play a role in that ongoing development.
“She regularly competes with some of the best midcourters in the world and holds them accountable and I have no doubt she has an incredible career ahead of her.”