FEARING MY CAREER WAS OVER
It was at a Monday training, and we were just doing a routine drill. Someone was defending me one-on-one, I went to catch a ball and my left knee collapsed inward. So I had a bit of body contact on this one, but it wasn’t a massive fall.
This time I knew straightaway. It was a similar pain; just not as intense as that first one. It’s funny, because some people who do their ACL can sort of walk off and it might feel like a jarred knee. But mine were both extremely painful, so I don’t know if that’s genetics related or I’m just unlucky!
Emotionally, it was devastating. I remember speaking to mum and dad on the phone straight afterward and none of us could hold it together at that point. It was fresh, and a tough pill to swallow. Just to comprehend going through that whole process again only 13 or 14 months later.
It was harder, initially, but after the surgery the rehab process was easier in a way with the second one because I knew what I needed to do, and I knew how hard I could push my mind and my body.
You worry about your future. You question so many things and so much runs through your head. There was a point where I said: ‘Can I play again? Will I play again?’.
After such a major injury, I obviously wanted to put my best foot forward and do my job for my new team, but I was also just grateful to be playing netball again.
Knowing how hard the rehab is, and putting it into perspective with your life and general well-being, takes up a lot of your time and energy. I wasn’t sure what was happening at Collingwood, either, because I was on a one-year contract.
I was so fortunate to be at Collingwood, with the staff and the facilities for my rehab and the access that I had to medical expertise. I had surgery with Julian Feller, who does a lot of the footy boys, and he was incredible.
For the 2018 season I was offered a spot as an SSN training partner at Collingwood, and I captained the Tassie Magpies in the ANL. It was hard to take a step back, but my main goal was to hit the court again at any level.
I had a really successful year and a lot of fun with the Tassie Magpies. We won the premiership with an awesome group of girls who are some of my best mates now.
I wasn’t sure what was going to happen for 2019. I was probably at a point where I was happy and content with my netball and how I was playing, but when an opportunity came up for another SSN contract, I knew I wanted to give it another crack and I knew I could do it.
I had discussions with Collingwood, but they were unsure what they were doing and there was a lot of movement in the Magpies’ attacking end. To get the offer from Thunderbirds, I honestly couldn’t believe it. I thought I had played well in ANL that year, but probably not well enough to get an SSN contract.
Tania Obst coming in as Thunderbirds’ coach was a massive drawcard for me. She coached me at SASI and in ANL when I first moved to Adelaide in 2010. I feel grateful to be part of this new Thunderbirds’ era and a new, refreshed team. We have a great group of players and people, and I love my new teammates. It means coming back home, as well.
I’m so happy with my decision and to be playing at this level again. There was a point where I didn’t think that I could, and I’m super-excited to see what we can do this year now.
I’m A DIFFERENT PERSON NOW
The thing I miss most about Melbourne is the coffee. I turned into a coffee snob there – it’s ridiculous! The thing I love most about Adelaide is being closer to family, and the beaches here are a lot better. Standard reaction!
With a shooting end of me, Maria Folau and Sasha Glasgow, all three of us can play both positions, which is a real strength, and it’s going to be a bit of the unknown to the opposition, because we’re all strong in different areas.
Strong foundations have been laid since Tania’s appointment, and it means a lot for me to come back and be part of that, being a South Australian girl. There’s an amazing legacy at the club and we’re striving to bring the Thunderbirds back to where they used to be and where they should be: which is as a really competitive team, and a winning team.
Having started so young, it feels like I’m a lot older than I am. I’m 25 this year, and people say your mid-20s is your prime, so we’ll see how that goes! I’m just excited for another opportunity so I’m going to make the most of it. I’m completely different from that 16-year-old who’d just moved up from Bordertown. As a person, I’ve grown so much, and learnt so much about myself through this whole netball journey that I’ve been on.
I’m extremely grateful to play netball as my job, and I’m one of those athletes who plays for their younger self because I just absolutely loved the game. I still do.