After nearly 18 months of hell that saw her miss the entire Super Netball season last year, Giants Netball defender Kristiana Manu’a is back and ready to hit the ground running ahead of the new season.
In December 2016, Manu’a was training with her Giants teammates when she tore her Achilles tendon and was subsequently ruled out from the inaugural Super Netball competition.
While missing considerable time due to injury is bad enough, Manu’a also missed out on numerous opportunities with the Australian Diamonds as well as the chance to play in the first ever Super Netball Grand Final with her Giants teammates.
Speaking with the Weekender, the 22-year-old Kiwi-born star said she’s left the past behind her and is looking forward to the season ahead.
“I’m extremely excited to play and to put all this hard work and training into practice,” Manu’a said.
“It was tough sitting on the sidelines last season. I was on such an exciting path and my journey was happening so quickly that I think the timing of my injury was good for me in a way as it gave me a chance to step back and really work on me as an athlete.”
For a brand new team, the Giants enjoyed an outstanding debut season, reaching the Grand Final before ultimately going down to the Sunshine Coast Lightning 65-48.
Manu’a said despite being tough to watch, she was proud of her teammates for having such a strong year.
“It was hard to see what was happening and not being able to do anything about it but to make the Grand Final in our first season was such an achievement,” she said.
“The girls played so well and I’m actually excited to see how well we go this season together.”
Before her injury, Manu’a was making inroads with the Australian Diamonds following a successful debut with national team at the 2016 Netball Quad Series.
This Sunday, April 29 at Qudos Bank Arena, Manu’a will return to the court in an opening round Grand Final rematch against reigning premiers Sunshine Coast. Tickets are available from Ticketek.
The Nine Network will broadcast Super Netball matches on TV this year, with four live games every weekend.
Hosting all the action for Suncorp Super Netball will be Clint Stanaway, Jayne Azzopardi, Aislin Kriukelis and Warren Tredrea.
They will be joined by an expert commentary team including Australian netball legends Liz Ellis, Anne Sargeant, Cath Cox, Sharelle McMahon, Clare McMeniman and Sue Gaudion.
Courtside reporters will include Julie Snook, Alexis Daish, Carrie-Anne Greenbank, Michael Atkinson, Jack Berketa and Paddy Sweeney.
Nine’s Executive Producer of Netball, Keeley Devery, said: “The spotlight is well and truly on netball following the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games success, and with the added move to Nine from 9Gem, I couldn’t be more excited for the season ahead.”
Nathan Taylor is the Western Weekender’s award-winning sports journalist. Nathan is also the Weekender’s Deputy Editor.