Championship-winning captain gives Jets final’s edge
WITH so much to play for, USQ Jets newcomer Monique French was never going to let an ankle niggle stop her playing.
Having shared in championship success in the Victorian Netball League, the experienced centre hopes to savour the same joy with the Jets in this year's Sapphire Series.
The Jets can move a step closer to that goal by beating arch rivals Cougars in Saturday night's semi-final at Morayfield.
After playing against the Cougars in last Saturday's win and sitting out Sunday's victory over the Wildcats, French is right to go this weekend.
"I'm okay. I'm all good,'' she said, having suffered the minor injury during a recent training session.
"We just wanted to see how my ankle went on Saturday and then gave it a bit more of a rest on Sunday.''
The former Jets Rubies captain has thrived on moving up into the Sapphire Series.
"It's been sensational,'' she said.
"That's the level I was used to playing at. I hadn't played in a couple of years so getting back into it all.
"It's been great going back and being elevated into Sapphires.''
French said seeing the Jets secure the minor premiership last weekend was "fantastic''.
"The girls have worked so hard,'' she said.
"I feel like that's just a minor reward. We have to reach the final with all the hard work that we've put in.''
Standing in the way on Saturday night is the former competition-leading Cougars.
"They never like to lose. They will always come out hard,'' French said.
"But we know that and I think it's good that we know that we can beat them too.
"It will be a good game on Saturday.''
French, 30, captained her Victorian Netball League championship-winning team Peninsula Waves before returning to Queensland.
She hopes that leadership success helps the Jets when the pressure is on.
"I guess I'm an older girl who has a lot of experience playing at that level,'' said French, who works as a PE teacher at Coorparoo State School.
She's been playing higher level netball since she was 17.
The former Wildcats and Brisbane Lions netballer joined the Jets this season having returned to the sport after a three-year break following her stint in Melbourne.
"I love the vibe they have at the club,'' she said.
She took some time out to work on her teaching degree.
"I decided to leave netball and just focus on teaching,'' she said.
"Now that I'm more settled and after a couple of seasons I realised that I really miss it.''
The accomplished centre started the season with the Jets Rubies before being called into the Sapphires side.
"The main difference is definitely the speed of the game and the intensity,'' she said.
Sapphire Series semi-final: Saturday (7pm) - USQ Ipswich Jets v Cougars at Morayfield.
Winner advances directly to grand final.