RETURNING: Keanna Hopkins and Tia Konui have been chosen for the 2017 Capricorn Claws squad after time off the court.
RETURNING: Keanna Hopkins and Tia Konui have been chosen for the 2017 Capricorn Claws squad after time off the court. Rachel McDonald

Familiar faces return to Claws

NETBALL: It may have been a while since Keanna Hopkins and Tia Konui pulled on the Capricorn Claws colours, but the Rockhampton pair are back and bring with them a renewed passion for netball.

Hopkins and Konui have been selected for the 2017 Rockhampton Leagues Club Capricorn Claws squad following trials at The Cathedral College on Saturday and while training is yet to start, the pair are already talking about the 2017 Queensland State Netball League grand final.

Hopkins and Konui have spent the past two years and year respectively watching the Claws from the sidelines in a bid to reignite their passion for the game and it has certainly worked.

After two years off the court, Hopkins said she was eager to get back in the swing of things.

"I had two seasons off and it went really quickly,” the goal defender said.

"Going from playing for 12 years, I was like, I don't know what to do with myself.

"I hated watching from the sidelines. When I say that, it's not because you think you can do better it's because you want to be out there. It makes you sad and seeing the bond that they're forming, you're like 'I'm not a part of that bond anymore.'

"I'm keen to get back to the Claws level, pushing myself a bit more and getting fit again and being apart of the team and going away, I loved that experience.”

Having played under former coach Barb Ahmat for most of her time with the Claws, Hopkins said she was excited to see where new head coach Michelle Heatley will lead the team.

"It's going to be exciting to see what her take on everything is and how she's going to change the Claws,” she said.

"I know she (Heatley) has some good recommendations so I'm really interested to see her as a coach. We haven't had a training session with her yet.

"What I feel from Michelle is that she doesn't take any crap. She named the team and then gave us a code of conduct. It made us take it seriously.”

The defender said Heatley certainly put her through her paces during the trials.

"Fitness is the big thing for me, having two years off I have struggled. The trials were a big eye opener. I though I was reasonable but I'm not up to standard so getting that back is going to be a challenge for me,” Hopkins said.

"I want to push the boundaries and see how far I can go.”

Konui, who plays in attack, shared Hopkins sentiments.

"I had a year off for the 2016 season to have a break and find the love for the game again,” Konui said.

"After having a break I realised how lazy I got. I took the game for granted instead of playing seriously. Now I want to take it more seriously and be more consistent on the court, be there for the team and be able to back them up if anything happens.

"The second trials were hard because of the fitness testing. The first trials in front of Michelle you really had to show yourself because it's a new coach. Reputation means nothing. You play and are judged on how you play.”



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