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The Dziwoki Road to the Top

Melbourne Vixens netballer Carla Dziwoki has called an end to her on court career. The born and bred South Australian has retired to concentrate on opportunities outside the game. "I felt ready to focus on a career outside of netball and let some young blood get an opportunity'" Dziwoki explained. It's been a long journey for the 33 year old going through two knee reconstructions, her first back in 2006. "I did the same left knee twice almost a year apart," The Cricket NSW Player Development Manager said. "After the second one I thought netball was over for me." During that time Dziwoki received a call from the UK to play overseas. "That phone call was my motivation to get myself back," she continued. At this time Dziwoki did some intensive rehab work with a trainer that specialised in knees and worked for one of the rugby clubs. "I felt much better prepared and stronger after the second compared to the rehab work done after the first. "The 9 month recovery is hard but it is satisfying when you start ticking off the milestones each month. "One of the hardest things coming back is getting the thought out of your head that it will happen again. "You have to trust the hard work you’ve done to ensure you hit the court with confidence." Dziwoki grew up in the North Eastern Suburbs of Adelaide playing a majority of sports. Her love for horse riding was evident when she spent her weekends at a school at Inglewood. "I volunteered my every Sunday working as a trainee looking after the horses and taking trail," Dziwoki said. But her netball talent whilst playing for Cheerio and Contax - in Netball SA's Premier League - was identified when she earned a scholarship with the Australian Institute of Sport. "I moved from Adelaide when I was 20 years of age to accept a scholarship with the AIS," Dziwoki said. In 2003, Dziwoki was a member of the inaugural Canberra Darters Commonwealth Bank Trophy team. She later signed with Queensland in 2004 and remained with them until 2009. After her knee reconstructions she played the two seasons in 2008 for Northumbria and 2009 for Leeds Carnegie in the UK Superleague. Dziwoki made 33 ANZ Championship appearances scoring 423 goals over her time at Queensland Firebirds (2009), Sydney Swifts (2010-14) and Melbourne Vixens (2015). Throughout her journey she has been mentored by many coaches, her two most influential being Norma Plummer and Tania Obst. "I’ve been fortunate to have been coached by some amazing people," Dziwoki explained. "Tania Obst in my Contax days was very influential. "She established a high achieving, winning culture, I learned the importance of training hard and demanding excellence of yourself and team mates. "Norma Plummer showed a lot of faith in me in my Canberra Darters days. "She challenged me and pushed me to become a better player and put a lot of time into my development." With netball taking up a huge part of her life, Dziwoki will enjoy retirement with the things she missed the most and the list is quite long. "I love spending time with my friends and family and enjoy getting outdoors, back to nature, but I also enjoy a shuffle around the shops," Dziwoki explained. "I love animals too and hope to give some of my time adopting and I wouldn’t mind hopping back on the horse either." There are certainly no regrets with her decision to retire from playing the game she loves as she starts her next journey in life. "I’ve played with some amazing people that have become lifelong friends," she said. "I’ve been coached by players I’ve looked up too and been able to travel the country and world."

Images- Grant Treeby & Carla Dziwoki.