Hillier overcomes pain barrier for shot at grand final

Tania Hillier
Tania Hillier

WHEN Tania Hillier was pushing through the pain of rehabilitation from a knee reconstruction, this is what kept her going.

Tomorrow night Hillier lines up for the Carina Wildcats against the Kedron Wavell Cougars in the grand final of the Queensland Champions Cup.

The Wildcats are the defending Tier One champions, but Hillier missed last year's grand final after shattering her knee mid-season.

The 29-year-old has been playing top-level netball for a decade but this will be her first grand final.

"That was my motivation," the Brassall resident said.

"I wouldn't have put all the hard work into it if I didn't think I'd be able to make it back this far."

The Wildcats beat the Cougars in last year's decider, but lost to them last week in the preliminary semi-final.

"We just didn't capitalise on their turnovers," Hillier said.

"That's the main thing."

With six of last year's 10 grand finalists backing up for the Wildcats, they have the experience to ensure they bring their A game tomorrow.

But the Cougars have experienced the pain of losing a grand final, which will spur them on as well.

"It just depends who turns up on the night," Hillier said.

"We've definitely got the ability to win.

"It's down to who makes the least mistakes and can capitalise on the other team's."

For Hillier, just making it this far is an achievement, given her injury included a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, torn medial ligament and damaged cartilage.

The injury came not long into her return to the top tier after having a baby.

"I think about that - where I've come from," she said.

"It's a bonus I'm still playing at the moment and have got this opportunity.

"It definitely drives me."

Having overcome both the mental and physical obstacles to get there, Hillier just has to produce what she knows she is capable of.

"Basically I'll just focus on doing the one percent things," the wing attack said.

"If we concentrate on our game and how we play as a team, we should be right."

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