Bec Kavanagh fully expected to walk away from netball for a year after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament last season.
"The end of last year was quite testing not being able to play," the Old Collegians goalie said. "At the end of that season I went, 'I'll walk away, I won't have anything to do with it'."
But a call from then-newly-appointed coach Jemmah Lynch convinced Kavanagh to return in a coaching capacity.
"(Jemmah) left quite an open-ended question," she said. "Which resulted in me helping her coach this year which I was really grateful for because I've enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to."
The 36-year-old said her passion for the sport ultimately kept her in the game, adding it would have "been really difficult" to walk away.
"I had thought sitting on the sidelines when you can't play would have been even harder," she said. "But having that input and being part of the team was a big one for me doing the assistant coach side of things."
Kavanagh will join Lynch as a joint senior coach next season.
I've got itchy feet. The plan is to play again at this stage.- Bec Kavanagh
"It sort of flowed on from this year," she said. "As much as I was assistant coach, it was pretty even. When it came to being asked about next year, we both looked at each other and said, 'you do it, I'll do it'."
Kavanagh said the pair were on the same wavelength as coaches and players.
"It's really been quite easy," she said. "For the few rounds I did play with (Jemmah) last year, we had an on court connection (as GA and WA) that was really good.
"That's followed through with the coaching side of things. We're on the same brainwave. One time we both tagged each other in exactly the same thing but on different platforms within minutes of it.
"We correspond throughout the week, and go 'this is what we need to work on,' or 'maybe this'. We definitely see the same things."
Kavanagh, who works as a personal trainer, said her ruptured ACL was the first-ever injury to sideline her but her rehab was tracking well for a return to the netball court.
"I've got itchy feet," she said. "The plan is to play again at this stage but we'll test the waters and see how it goes and where I might slot in."
With all-but two players new to the division one side this season, Kavanagh said the rebuild had its challenge but hopes to retain the core group for next year.
"It's been really rewarding having new people at the club," she said. "But also difficult having to start that rebuild side of it as well. Hopefully the retention of players is a big one so that we have that starting base from how we started this season and just keep building as a team."
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