Ipswich star grateful for success
NICOLE Cude could have been forgiven for feeling a little down this week.
After representing the Queensland mixed netball team at the national championships at Runaway Bay last week, she was overlooked for a spot in the Australian side.
That was despite getting picked in the team last year and feeling her form had improved, along with that of her team, which claimed third spot.
But in her last season of competitive netball and with a motto of "everything happens for a reason", Cude remains remarkably chipper - even with the bruises she still carries from last week.
"We finished second but ended up third after losing the preliminary final to NSW," Cude said.
"It was disappointing (not getting picked in the Australian team) but I still had a good week."
Cude was joined in the Queensland team by fellow Ipswich player, Springfield Lakes' Jay Kosega.
Victoria went on to beat NSW in the final and their undefeated record saw them rewarded with the bulk of the Australian team.
"It was great," said Cude, who plays centre or wing attack.
"It's high quality netball.
"It's an intense week and very physical."
Cude puts that down to having the men involved, meaning the women have to give as good as they get.
"The women in mixed are just as physical," she said.
"You find yourself on the ground a few times and I have a fair few bruises on me."
Cude has returned from the tournament to join her West Brisbane Loins teammates ahead of their third game of the Holden Cruze Cup (Queensland premier competition).
"The quality is very high in mixed but we're playing with Queensland Firebirds players in the Holden Cruze Cup," she said.
"It's very highly skilled."
The Lions finished third last season but Cude is convinced they can go at least one better this time, thanks in part to the recruitment of Firebirds players Jacinta Messer and Candice Adams.
If they can, it will fulfil both the team's goals and her final personal goal.
"I think this is definitely my last year of netball," Cude said.
"I'd like to make the finals and grand final."
With a knee injury that needs strapping each game and dodgy ankles, the 29-year-old will leave the game with few regrets, having not missed a season since she started playing as a six-year-old.
"I don't know how much longer my body can take it," she said.
Lives: Redbank Plains
Favourite player growing up: I used to be a shooter so probably Vicky Wilson.
Biggest influence: Probably Lions Tier 2 coach Shaye Gillett. A few years ago I was contemplating retirement and she rekindled my love for netty.
Best advice: Everything happens for a reason and never give up.
Pre-game ritual: I have to wear the same socks and underwear. It makes you feel like it's game time.