Stephanie Wood and Kristiana Manu’a both capped off debut years in the ANZ Championship by joining the Australian Netball Diamonds as training partners on their January tour of England.
Wood who played 11 games for the NSW Swifts in 2015 and Manu’a who played 14 games for WBOP Magic, relished the opportunity following their performances at Netball Australia’s Centre of Excellence.
“To get to be in the Diamonds environment which I haven’t been a part of before was absolutely amazing and a dream come true,” Wood said.
“To see how those elite players, the next level up, prepare for each game was really awesome.”
As training partners, Wood and Manu’a attended every Diamonds training and gym session and followed all team procedures.
“We were training with the girls and just experiencing what it was like to be a team member,” Manu’a said.
“We did everything as a member of the team pre-match, including the captain’s run, but then would support (the team) on the sidelines.”
The experience allowed Manu’a to see how fellow defenders Sharni Layton and Clare McMeniman prepared and dealt with the pressures of the game.
“I learnt how to focus on a game when all the pressure is on you, the preparation leading up to the game and the high intensity of what it’s like to compete at that level,” Manu’a said.
Wood said the tour was a learning experience and gave insight on how she could develop her own netball career to push for selection in the future.
“I didn’t know what to expect, so I went in with open eyes. It was absolutely amazing, even watching how the girls go about things and just learning as much as I could while I had that opportunity.”
“It definitely motivated me and the experience of going away showed me the things that I really need to improve on to make that final 12 and keep working to keep improving my game.”