Super Netball: Melbourne Vixens make re-sign Liz Watson

The Melbourne Vixens are putting key pieces of their 2022 Super Netball puzzle in place, re-signing another key midcourt player.

Liz Watson is like a little kid waiting for Christmas.

Having re-signed with the Melbourne Vixens for the 2022 Super Netball, Watson is busting to get to pre-season training after a frustrating year on the sidelines following foot surgery.

Watson captained the Diamonds against New Zealand in the Constellation Cup in March before a surgeon confirmed the foot injury she’d been managing for some time was actually a broken navicular bone which would require surgery.

The operation and consequent rehabilitation ruled her out of the entire Super Netball season, something she admitted was incredibly frustrating as the Vixens dropped from premiers to wooden spooners in the space of 12 months.

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“Obviously missing out on the season was not ideal, I was ready to go and be part of the pre-season, so it did come a bit all of a sudden but once I spoke to the surgeon it was clear it did have to happen,” Watson said from Perth, where she is in camp with the Diamonds ahead of their scheduled series against England.

“It’s a bone that will never heal naturally, so even if I’d been in a boot for eight weeks, it was not going to come back together without a couple of pins and surgery, so that also made it a pretty easy decision.”

But having been out of action for the past six months already and knowing she will miss the Diamonds’ series against the Roses if it is able to go ahead, Watson can’t wait to get back to pre-season training with the Vixens.

“It’ll be like Christmas,” she said.

“I’ve been putting down little milestones along the way — so I was excited when I first got off crutches and then got off my boot and could start walking again, so there’s definitely little things to look forward to.

“The next big one is to start running and then start changing direction and then get back on court.”

Watson is widely regarded as the best wing attack and one of the best players in all positions in world netball.

But in a revelation that should have opponents quaking, she believes she can get better.

While she was unable to play, Watson ended the year on the bench next to coach Simone McKinnis after the Vixens’ assistant coaches were unable to spend extended time away and believes the insight she gained and perspective she gained from the sideline will help her own game.

“It was a great experience. I think I have a new appreciation for Simone and making calls during the game and how you give feedback and it was interesting,” Watson said.

“I actually could see so much from the sideline and it’s something I want to bring to my game is recognising things when I’m out there playing and not waiting for someone on the sidelines to tell me.

“I absolutely think (it can help my game). Even the way that I could see what was happening with our team and the opposition and realising that if I was out on court and could recognise this in the moment before a time-out or quarter-time break, it’s such a big advantage.

“When you’re in the heat of the moment, it’s a lot harder than me just sitting on the sidelines and being able to see but it was a really good experience and I’m glad I was able to be there with the team.”

Watson is the second signing announced by the Vixens, along with her co-captain Kate Moloney, with whom she will reunite in the midcourt.

“I’m so excited just to get back out there with her and get back in,” she said.

“I could see how hard some games were and the pressure that she was under out there on court, so hopefully we can have a really strong connection next season and keep working hard and then we’ve got lots of players who will step up and take on different roles at different times.

“I’m really excited just to get out and start playing really.”