Kristiana Manu’a and Kiera Austin prepare to compete in their first
Suncorp Super Netball game as GIANTS.
Two GIANTS Netball team players will likely make their Suncorp Super Netball debut when the team takes on Sunshine Coast Lightning in Round 1.
While they might both be officially taking the court as GIANTS for the first time during the Suncorp Super Netball regular season, both are doing so in very different circumstances.
Defender Kristiana Manu’a has played 29 national league games and has two Test Caps (AUS). Known for her defensive drive and competitive focus, Manu’a was all set to don the orange in 2017, but an unfortunate accident in the pre-season left Manu’a with a ruptured Achilles tendon, which sidelined her for almost a year.
For Manu’a, it has been a studied recovery and a long rehab, but it’s been necessary to make sure she is 100% ready to make her return and contribute to what the team hopes is another stellar GIANTS season. “It takes a while to get your timing and everything right,” Manu’a acknowledges, but adds “I love a good challenge. I’m excited to get back into that intensity and that level of play.”
Working hard to be healthy and prepared for the new season, Manu’a has been training and taking part in pre-season games with her GIANTS teammates. Reflecting on the whole journey to game-ready form she shares, “to finally get out therewith the girls, it means so much more than I can explain.
It’s humbling. I’m grateful to be at the end of the process and I’m ready to return.”
There is a different tone to the anticipation felt by rookie Kiera Austin who will hopefully be playing her first official game for GIANTS Netball against Lightning.
The attacker, just 20 years old, showcased a dangerous aim and shooting accuracy as a GIANTS Netball Training Partner in 2017 and it was this level of play that prompted her elevation to the team in 2018.
Austin can’t help but feel the excitement building and has been able to flex her muscles in the pre-season, playing with the team during their games against West Coast Fever and the England Roses. What’s it like to be playing with and against the best players in the world?
“I was amazed by the physicality of it all,” Austin explains. “It’s something that is a new level to me and I’m learning to incorporate that into my game.”
Working hard to prepare for the elite play on display in the Suncorp Super Netball league is paying off for Austin, “being stronger is something I wanted to achieve this year and I’m looking to bring things to a new level in the coming season,” she concludes.
GIANTS Netball will be playing with a formidable team in 2018, and Manu’a and Austin bring valuable experience and stunning skill to the side. Both players will be indispensable assets to the GIANTS as they face-off against the other teams throughout the season. With an action-packed road to the finals ahead, they are sure to make a huge impact at both ends of the court. ¼