ONE run with Warrnambool Mermaids was all Katie O’Keefe needed to commit for the entire Big V season.
The former WNBL basketballer returned to the court in the Mermaids’ narrow round two loss after overcoming serious knee and elbow injuries sustained playing netball in 2015.
Warrnambool coach Louise Brown said getting through the game unscathed was enough to convince O’Keefe to sign on for the division one campaign.
O’Keefe will suit up in the Mermaids’ away double-header against Werribee Devils and Geelong Supercats this weekend.
Brown said O’Keefe had slowly eased her way back into sport after she underwent a knee recontruction and elbow surgery following a Hampden league elimination final mishap.
“She came to test it out and see and she trained a couple of times and everything was all right,” she said.
“Her husband Simon is playing for the Seahawks so she thought ‘why not, I’m going to be there anyway watching him’.”
Brown, herself a former WNBL player, said O’Keefe’s inclusion gave the Mermaids a boost.
“She is so versatile – she can play the one to the five really,” she said.
“Her experience is invaluable with all the young girls we have.”
Warrnambool will regain championship-winning guard Holly Greene for its double-header with the Melbourne-based nurse committing for both games.
But the Mermaids will be without prolific teenager scorer Molly McKinnon who is battling an ankle injury she sustained at training prior to the Easter break and point guard Carly Pulling.
Brown said teenagers Camilla Christensen, who made her Big V debut in round two, and Leah Bartlett would rotate through the point in Pulling’s absence.
“We’re taking 10 players on the road. Young Camilla and Leah will get an opportunity to have a few more minutes,” she said.
Fellow teen Lily Killey (ankle) is yet to play in 2018 after injuring herself in the pre-season.
The Tim Gainey-led Warrnambool Seahawks, who also have a 1-1 win-loss record, play Geelong Supercats on Sunday.
Her experience will be invaluable with all the young girls we have.Louise Brown on Katie O'Keefe