Stephanie Wood of the Lightning in action against Firebirds last year. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)
Stephanie Wood of the Lightning in action against Firebirds last year. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)

Wood red hot as Lightning light up Firebirds

Lightning coach Kylee Byrne has praised the “hot hand” of Steph Wood after they opened their Super Netball campaign with victory for the first time in the club’s history.

After being as many as nine goals down in the opening quarter, the Sippy Downs-based outfit surged back to record a 66-48 win against Queensland Firebirds in Round 1 of Super Netball on Saturday.

It was a momentous feat, with it not only being the Lightning’s 50th Super Netball match, but the first time that they had won a season-opening clash since inception in 2017.

“We don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing because of how successful we’ve been in the past when we haven’t won a (Round 1) game,” Byrne said.

“Some of us are superstitious and it could’ve been a loss and we still would’ve been happy because of the final outcome (of seasons in the past).

“(But) We’re pretty happy with that game as a starting point for us and to knock that record off this year.

“2020 is a different year so we’ll just take anything that comes at the moment.”

The new Super Shot rule was also in effect for the first time in Super Netball, with Lightning’s Steph Wood proving a master of the long range two-goal initiative.

She shot at 91 per cent accuracy from the circle’s edge, nailing 10 of 11 shots for 20 goals.

“She had a hot hand and the great thing was we could keep finding her so her contribution was enormous,” Byrne said.

Byrne was hopeful the goal attack’s long distance shooting could boost Lightning in future games.

“I just think she had that real belief that this is her range, regardless of whether it was two goals or one goal she just knew to turn and go to the post,” Byrne said.

“I think that’s one of the advantages for us at Lightning that the Super Shot is Steph Wood’s range and she’s had that for 10 years.

“If she can do that every game that’ll certainly put us in a good place.”

While not unusual for Lightning to start slow, Byrne said they’d need to address the issue for coming games.

“I thought we did it (win) in true Lightning style so we certainly made it hard of ourselves earlier on but I think that’s the strength and beauty of this squad that it doesn’t matter what situation we get in we always fight back,” she said.

“(But) we will be addressing it this week because there will be games that we just can’t fight back from and that was exactly the grand final last year and we don’t ever want to be in that position again.”