KASEY Owen says she's managing an ongoing back complaint as Koroit strives for a hat-trick of Hampden league open netball premierships.
The experienced Saints defender, who turns 29 on Monday, said the issue surfaced last season and flared up during the 2019 pre-season.
But the school teacher has discovered how to handle the disc problem and is hoping to play a key role in the Saints' preliminary final against Warrnambool at Friendly Societies' Park on Saturday.
"It's been a slow burn but I am feeling pretty good but it's also good to know if it's playing up we've got Zahli (Adams) and Nessy (McLaren), these great defenders who can slot in no worries, so I feel really safe and supported around those girls," Owen said.
The premiership player admitted the injury needed constant care, saying she was doing "everything I can control until Saturday when you're knocked and bumped" in a game.
"Netball is the worst sport ever for backs so I must say Sundays are always a bit of a challenge," Owen said.
"But I am doing Pilates and all the right things to keep it moving OK. It's been pretty good, it's just I can't over exert myself. I think it's something I am always going to have issues with."
Owen said Koroit was confident after beating Camperdown in the first semi-final and was backing its young players, such as Adams and Belle Baker, to perform against the Blues.
The Saints lost the qualifying final to the Blues two weeks ago.
"That first week of finals there was a few nerves with a younger team and I think after our performance against Camperdown we're a lot more focused and really playing like a team," she said.
"We're happy we're coming up against Warrnambool again and we're trying to put a few things we've worked on since then into play.
"Against Camperdown we tried to have an intense warm-up and I think we were a bit flat starting against Warrnambool, so if we have a good warm-up we'll be switched on from the get-go and will have the intensity they had."
Owen said Koroit was known as an established team but teenagers Adams, Baker and McLaren were still adapting to senior ranks.
"I think that first week against Warrnambool maybe they were feeling nervous but they really switched on (against the Magpies) and played like they've been playing for years," she said.
"It is hard for them because everyone is saying 'Koroit, they know how to win' and they get put under that banner as well. They really played like experienced girls and I am really proud of them."
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