Already a highly regarded defender from her days as a netball junior, Kristiana Manu’a has packed such a punch from the bench this season she’s being tipped to make the Australian Diamonds squad.
Her coach at the Giants Julie Fitzgerald told SBS News: “They know [the Diamonds selectors] that there’s a future in Kristiana and I’m sure they’re keeping an eye on her.”
Manu’a had to be patient in the first ever Super Netball season last year as she recovered from a torn achilles tendon suffered on the eve of the season.
Watching her teammates reach the Grand Final from the sidelines was one of the hardest things she’s had to endure.
This season though, she’s started one game and played in plenty more from the bench, having a big impact each time she takes the court.
This weekend the Giants will look to reach the Grand Final. But getting this far hasn’t been easy.
Manu’a told SBS News: “Sitting on the sidelines has made it hard, but any chance I get on court is really exciting”.
As she underwent her rehabilitation last season she took the chance to become an ambassador for the Oceania Netball Cup keeping her in touch with her Samoan heritiage.
And she’s keen to continue with similar initiatives in future.
“I really want to help see the development of a Pacific culture.”
On Saturday, the Giants can qualify for the Grand Final if they can repeat last weekend’s victory over the West Coast Fever.
And the tough, athletic defender believes they can do it.