EMMA Cust's return to the netball court came out of the blue.
The former Warrnambool coach missed the 2018 Hampden league campaign after giving birth to her second child and a neck complaint ruled her out of any pre-season entering this season.
But Cust made a surprise appearance for the Blues on Saturday, playing four quarters in goal keeper.
She now plans to play out the season alongside sister Sarah O'Keeffe and help Warrnambool push for a finals berth.
"I only started at the gym last week. I thought I'd build up for six weeks and try training, as long as the neck got the all-clear," Cust said.
"But they had a couple of injuries after round one and Sarah said 'can you play? We're a bit short and we're desperate for defenders'.
"I said 'I don't know how I am going to go because I haven't been training'.
"She said 'come for a run at training on Thursday night and see how you go'.
"I pulled up surprisingly well and was no worries and they were like 'do you want a game?'
"It came out of left-field in a way."
Cust relished being back on court after injury concerns relating to her neck and arm had her reconsidering a comeback.
"With all the stuff that was going on, to be honest, I thought I was done with netball," she said.
"If it was a disc issue (in my neck or back) I shouldn't be playing a contact sport.
"This all started in January so it was taking a while to get some answers."
Cust received results from a neurologist on Monday who diagnosed carpal tunnel.
"I was getting this radiating nerve pain down my arm and we didn't know what it was," she said.
"They tracked all the nerve pathways. They were able to isolate what was going on.
"It's all carpal tunnel in the wrist and forearm. It happened through January and there was like eight weeks where I couldn't sleep.
"The pain was really bad and we all thought it was going to be my neck and that is why I couldn't commit to playing.
"It is the third time in three years I've had it and it flares up once a year but it was never this bad."
Cust is a masseuse by trade and was forced to give the job away.
"Having to give up massage sucks but I'd take that every day of the week over a neck issue," she said.
Cust, 31, and husband Ben, 44, welcomed daughter Stella into the world nine months ago.
She is a little sister for Tex, 3.
She said returning to netball gave them a chance to catch up with family, including sister Sarah and brother Tim O'Keeffe.
"We've got uncles and cousins and everyone is up here, it's just nice and you do miss it," Cust said.
"I really wanted to play again with Sarah as well.
"Everyone that is playing has played their juniors here. It's not just a team that's been thrown together.
"You're playing with everyone you know even though they're younger, Raewyn (Poumako) is a good coach and there's just a good feeling about the club."
Cust has coached Port Fairy and Warrnambool but said she was now content as a player.
"You still get cranky when you lose and you still analyse the game but there's just no pressure on you," she said.
The Blues host Camperdown in round three after the Easter bye.
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