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Wood Eyes Round 1 Start

“I will be ready for Round 1.”

Steph Wood is confident in her availability come Saturday 1 May 2021 as she continues to make strides towards full match fitness after undergoing knee surgery in late 2020.

While rehabilitating her injury, Wood was reminded of some sage advice given by former Sunshine Coast Lightning Coach, Noeline Taurua – ‘you don’t want to save the world too early’.

That sentiment has given the 29-year-old patience to allow her body to fully recover and she is now beginning to reap the rewards.

Wood expects to play in select trial matches in the coming months, albeit in a reduced capacity, to ensure she is in good touch ready for season proper.

“The aim is definitely to play some pre-season games, they may not be full games, but the aim is to be fully fit by Round 1,” Wood said.

Her return to match play took another significant step forward last week, with Wood completing her first full court session for Lightning this pre-season.

Head Coach Kylee Byrne was impressed with how she presented throughout the session.

“She had her first full court session last week and I made the comment that it feels as though she hasn’t stepped away at all,” Byrne said.

“She was threading balls like we know and love from Steph Wood.

“I was delighted with how seamlessly she slotted back into full contest situations at training.”

Byrne said she will use the upcoming pre-season games to allow for a gradual return to court for Wood, but the expectation will be that she is playing out full 15 minute quarters by season start. 

The trial matches will also be the first opportunity for Lightning to see their full squad of 10 in action, with Cara Koenen returning from Origin Diamond duties and Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius currently completing quarantine in Brisbane.