The Melbourne Vixens would be forgiven for enjoying some much-needed downtime, after their rollercoaster Suncorp Super Netball season ended with a Round 14 loss against the Sunshine Coast Lightning.
Yet captain Kate Moloney (and a number of her teammates) was back in the gym this week with a mission on her mind: selection for her country in the upcoming International Test Series.
Next week the 25-year-old will already be pounding the floorboards in the first of a series of court sessions as she bids to be at her best when the Samsung Diamonds team is selected for the Quad Series and Constellation Cup. Such is the desire the Victorian has to pull on a Diamonds dress again, after missing the final cut for the Commonwealth Games.
And in the back of her mind is the opportunity that beckons to play a Diamonds Test in Melbourne for the very first time, when the national team take on the New Zealand Silver Ferns at Hisense Arena on September 23.
“It’s always special running out in the green and the gold, but to do it in Melbourne at Hisense Arena, which is our (Vixens) home court, it’ll be a pretty amazing feeling to have that support,” she says.
“You know when I do get to play in Australia, no matter where it is, to have that crowd it’s very special. So fingers crossed that hopefully I might get an opportunity to do that again this year.”
Moloney, who made her Diamonds debut last year and was named as a training partner for the Commonwealth Games, won’t be short of fans if she does suit up in Melbourne.
While she’s played for Australia at Fast5 level in her home city the last two years, the opportunity to play a home Test is helping to fuel her push to get back into the green and gold.
“I think it would be extremely special to have family and friends to be able to come to the game and support you and just see you out on court. You have a lot to thank for them to where you were playing in your netball career and I’d love for them to be able to come and share that experience.”
If Moloney does get the call-up for the Melbourne Test, it’s likely she won’t be the only homegrown hero on the court, with five other Vixens selected in the initial squad of 17.
She says it’s a testament to the strength of the netball pathway in her home state that Victorians make up such a large percentage of the squad.
“I feel really lucky to be playing netball in Victoria. I think we just get so many doors opened, opportunities within those under-age programs, the coaching that we get, the support and the facilities that we have access to, it’s pretty amazing,” she says.
“I’m not sure if there’s an advantage, but I do feel very lucky to be part of the Netball Victoria pathway and I think from the (selection) results it obviously does help, with the amount of Victorian players that are in the squad.”
While some players might have been looking forward to a break at season’s end, Moloney isn’t one of them, and despite the heavy load through the pre-Commonwealth Games period and then the Suncorp Super Netball season, she maintains she feels as fresh as ever.
“The body’s feeling really good. It felt really good all year and so it’s important for us to keep training and make sure that we’re ready if we’re selected for either of the series,” she says.
“We wish that we were in that finals series but, it’s great to be able to keep training and have something else to look forward to as well.”
The Samsung Diamonds kick off the home leg of the International Test Series in a double-header in Melbourne on September 23.