CASEY Williams will not take to the netball court against Australia on Thursday unless she is confident she will not let her side down.
New Zealand won the opening test of the annual Constellation Cup series in Melbourne at the weekend, but captain Williams was forced to watch it from the sideline, with a knee injury delaying her return after a 14-month lay off.
She took a knock to her left knee during the final training session before the 54-52 win, with the 64-test veteran agreeing with medical staff that she should not risk it ahead of a busy schedule for the Silver Ferns.
Instead, she took on a role as advisor, timekeeper and cheerleader.
“Oh God, that’s an understatement,” she told Fairfax NZ when asked if court time was a goal this week.
“In the end it’s up to me but I would never put myself out on to the court if it was detrimental to the team. If I’m not 100 per cent I don’t want to do that to the team. They can continue on and I’ll be the official timer.”
While she was moving freely and without pain, four quarters against the world champions would be something else.
“I’m just walking, it’s not what it’s like to play so I’ll have to wait and see.”
She would face a mixture of rest and loading leading up to Thursday’s match, and would not put a time line on her final decision.
“We want to make sure we don’t overdo it because it is a long time until the Commonwealth Games (Glasgow, 2014) that’s ideally what I’m aiming for.”
So like All Black Dan Carter, her playing schedule will be carefully managed.
“I’ve been doing that for about five years now,” Williams said of her cycle of play, recovery and, if necessary, rehabilitation.
“I wasn’t given terribly good genes with my knees.”
While finding it tough on the sideline, she was happy with the performance of defenders Katrina Grant and Leana de Bruin, who played out of position at GD.
“I think they did really well. In trainings and during the build-up to it I told them ‘You’ve just got to tell each other what to do and how to do it and you respond to that’. They’re quite honest and that’s what we need.”