Cat Tuivaiti will play for the Southern Force this weekend, a key milestone in her comeback from a knee reconstruction.
It will be the first time Tuivaiti has played a game of netball since tearing her ACL in July 2017 and while she said she’s excited to take to the court, there’s also a lot of nerves.
“It’s been 11 months since I last played – before the injury I couldn’t remember the last time I hadn’t played netball for two months – so this first game was always going to be scary,” she said.
Tuivaiti will wear a knee brace on the weekend, which has been specifically designed for her.
“We’ve done a lot of work on getting the knee brace right. It looks a bit bulky and it’s a bit of an eye-sore, but it’s actually really comfortable to wear and makes me more confident both physically and mentally.”
Tuivaiti, who has been training with the Adelaide Thunderbirds and Southern Force in previous weeks, said she’s ready to play the role the Force needs from her.
“I’m coming into their team and will need to adapt to their playing style. I’m happy to do the role they need me to do.”
Adelaide Thunderbirds Head Coach Dan Ryan said the club had always planned for Tuivaiti to play for the Southern Force to gain court time.
“Recovering from a knee reconstruction is a process and playing for the Southern Force is a huge step forward for Cat,” he said.
“This will also see Cat gain confidence and court time, and will be a huge benefit for the young players in the team to play alongside her with the amount of experience she has.”
Ryan said there is no set timeline for when Tuivaiti will be eligible for Adelaide Thunderbirds selection.
The Southern Force takes on Queensland Fusion in Round 6 of the Deakin University Australian Netball League this Saturday and Sunday (June 16 and 17) at Priceline Stadium. Both games begin at 3pm.