WENDY Frew has admitted to some moments of doubt throughout the off-season – doubt she would be able to return to ANZ Premiership netball standard after suffering a shattering injury.
The Southern Steel captain snapped an Achilles tendon last July while playing in the Super Club competition in Nelson.
The injury halted the determined midcourter’s rise up the New Zealand netball ranks just when she had positioned herself back into Silver Ferns’ selection talk.
While those Silver Ferns’ selection hopes faded, a lengthy recovery period started as the 33-year-old eyed this year’s ANZ Premiership campaign with the Steel.
“There has definitely been some dark days, just wondering if I can get back to that level.
“Achilles injuries are tough. It is a long road to recovery and you do doubt yourself that you can do the recovery, especially when you have two kids as well,” she said.
Frew is no stranger to these types of challenges, albeit her last injury comeback was a much more rapid-fire one.
The Steel captain required surgery and had 70 stitches in her leg last season following a van crash. Just 16 days later she had recovered to line up in the ANZ Premiership grand final win over the Central Pulse.
For much of the pre-season this year, Frew ran solo in training as she did her own thing while in recovery mode.
Eight weeks ago she rejoined training with the full squad. Bit by bit she made improvements to prepare to take to the court in the Steel’s competition opener against the Northern Mystics in Palmerston North on Sunday.
The Steel players will be back on court on Monday night to take on the Central Pulse.
Frew concedes she is not back to 100% just yet, but confirmed she is ready to take the court.
Frew’s court time will be restricted in the double-header as her comeback continues to be managed cautiously. Whether she starts or if she joins the action from the bench will be determined closer to start time.
For Frew and her team-mates there is a feeling of excitement that the pre-season is done and they now get to light the fuse to the 2018 ANZ Premiership season.
The Steel are looking to go back-to-back after their unbeaten run to the ANZ Premiership title last season.
“We know there will be big expectations on us. For us it is a new year, new team. That is how we are looking at it,” Frew said.
Most of the intrigue will centre on how life without Jhaniele Fowler-Reid treats the Steel.
The Jamaican shooter was instrumental in the Steel’s success in recent years, providing the midcourt with an ideal target under the net.
Frew wasn’t shying away from the fact Fowler-Reid was a huge loss. She indicated there would be fewer long balls into the circle and a different style of play as the Steel look to that new-year, new-team mantra.
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