Carla Dziwoki didn’t want to be chasing her tail when pre-season training started in January. Getting a taste of international netball at the World Netball Series with the FastNet Diamonds at the end of 2011 whetted her appetite for more and gave her plenty of motivation to ensure she hit the ground running.
“I really wanted to hit pre-season hard and not be on the back foot using the pre-season to get fit,” Dziwoki said.
“In my off-season I did a lot of work with some friends to get the run in my legs which meant that it was good to hit pre-season fitter as opposed to going in cold.”
Feeling fitter, faster and stronger Dziwoki has put in strong performances in the opening rounds, adjusting to life on-court at goal attack, as well as her more accustomed role at goal shooter.
“I’m really enjoying the challenge. Goal attack to me feels very different from goal shooter. I think I have done well in patches but there’s still a lot to work on,” Dziwoki said.
“At goal attack it’s all about trying to compose myself and sink my shots after running around a bit more than I do at goal shooter.”
Life off the netball court is also very busy for Dziwoki. Carla is a Sponsorship and Events Coordinator at QBE Australia, a role that she is relishing and puts into use her degrees in marketing and human resources from Leeds Metropolitan University.
“I couldn’t have a better employer that supports netball. They’ve been fantastic with the schedule and considering how busy our training has been they’ve been really flexible, and providing me with projects that are stimulating and challenging,” Dziwoki said.
“I’m very conscious that netball isn’t forever so I want to have a strong work/life balance and know that when I finish netball I will have something to fall back on.”
As one of the older heads in the team, Dziwoki loves the enthusiasm that new faces and younger players bring to the team.
“There are three of us that bring the average age up but otherwise we are quite a young team. Age-wise I’m one of the older ones but experience-wise I’ve only just played my first full game this year. I may have been around netball for a while, but I still feel very nervous stepping out on court,” Dziwoki said.
“It’s really refreshing having young people in the team that are so enthusiastic and excited about the experience. We have a great foundation and it’s good that we have a mix of older heads and some younger ones coming through.”
Netball fans have been kept on the edge of their seats in the opening rounds and with the competition so tight many have been left guessing as to who they think will take the points each game.
“At the beginning of the season everyone said that the Firebirds would be the team to beat. But the results in the opening rounds will have surprised many people. It just shows how close the competition is,” Dziwoki said.
“The crowd can play such a huge part in a game. We have some of the best supporters and they can definitely give you a couple of goals advantage on your home court. In such a close competition those couple of goals are crucial.”
This article appeared in SCOOP: the official magazine of the NSW Swifts, Volume 5, Issue 2.
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