Cara Koenen, Steph Wood, Karla Pretorius and Madeline Mcauliffe of the Sunshine Coast Lightning after the grand final. Picture: Getty Images
Cara Koenen, Steph Wood, Karla Pretorius and Madeline Mcauliffe of the Sunshine Coast Lightning after the grand final. Picture: Getty Images

Lethal Lightning crew to go for three-peat

LIGHTNING goal attack Steph Wood is confident the winning culture at the two-time premiers will keep the squad intact and give the Sunshine Coast a shot at a hat-trick of Super Netball titles.

All eight teams in the competition are busily putting their 10-player rosters together for the 2019 season, with the players left unsigned by their current clubs to be revealed as free agents next Monday.

The Lightning administration, coaching staff and high performance team have been working through the contracting process and expect to name their squad for the title defence next week as they finalise talks in the coming days.

"I think the culture that we have at this club is amazing," Wood said. "I think people want to come here because they want to be coached by the coaching staff we have, they want to be around the people that we put in our team.

"I would love to see the majority of our team stick together. I think we can do that.

"We always go out to win every season.''

But the first priority for Wood and her teammates was celebrating their grand final victory over the West Coast Fever at Perth Arena, which handed the club back-to-back championships.

The squad stayed in Perth on Sunday night and headed home on Monday. They will have a meet-and-greet with their fans at Alexandra Headland on Wednesday.

Wood would have woken up with sore ribs after getting heavily bumped into the goalpost in the first quarter of the decider and crashing to the court.

She appeared distressed as she lay on the court in pain for several minutes before being assisted from the playing arena. Wood returned to the match during the second quarter.

 

Steph Wood bounced back from early hit to play a key role in the grand final. Picture: Getty Images
Steph Wood bounced back from early hit to play a key role in the grand final. Picture: Getty Images

 

"Cooling down … it's a little bit sore but I'll take that when you can get a win,'' she said.

"(I felt) a little bit of sharp pain and also it was hurting when I was breathing. They were trying to slow my breathing down but I was freaking out a little bit.

"Probably being a little bit dramatic, in hindsight.''

Wood said the Lightning showed plenty of "grit" when they were down for the count with three losses to open the season and that determination became a hallmark of the 2018 squad all the way through to the season showpiece.

"I know a lot of people wrote us off early when we didn't have the best start. We also weren't losing games by large margins and Noels (coach Noeline Taurua) is just amazing at putting belief in our team,'' she said.

 

Steph Wood hopes the majority of the Lightning team returns for another shot at the title next season. Picture: AAP
Steph Wood hopes the majority of the Lightning team returns for another shot at the title next season. Picture: AAP

 

"There was a lot of talk about being on the road the last four games … we were just really good at sticking to our processes. (The grand final) wasn't the prettiest of matches but it shows the heart that's in the team.

"Down by seven in that second quarter (of the grand final), the attack end were very, very ugly at times but our defence just kept giving us opportunities.''

 

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