CLAIR MCDONALD may have taken the helm at Kalkee as her family's most valued athlete this season.
With her husband Brendan - a multiple-time premiership winner with Kalkee - unofficially retiring from senior football, Clair has been able to use her Saturday's to focus solely on netball.
"I took a couple of years off because Brendan was playing footy, and just trying to organise baby sitters for all the kids so I could play was really tricky," McDonald said.
"We've got a nine, six and two year old now, but Brendan is supposed to be retired, so it's his job to look after the kids."
McDonald, 33, said she had enjoyed the renewed focus, as she helps the Kees push toward finals once again in 2019.
"Brendan still plays a few reserves games - we actually brought up two milestones together the other week. I played my 100th game, he played his 150th on the same day, which was pretty cool," McDonald said.
"But he's happy for it to be a a bit more about me now, for me to focus on my netball, and what I can bring to the club."
McDonald has been an important netballer at Kalkee since joining from Horsham United in 2010.
Despite a lack of junior experience with netball, McDonald has become a mainstay in the A Grade side.
"I was a basketballer, and I only started playing netball at 21," she said.
"I had a lot of trouble with stepping when I first started ... but I find that reading the play, agility, and the ability to not be scared of a bit of physical contact from basketball has really helped."
McDonald has been close to her best this season, and showing only little signs of slowing down.
"I'm starting to feel a little bit creaky and sore after games, but I think I'm fitter now than I ever have been," McDonald said.
McDonald and Kalkee have the chance to wrap-up a finals spot at the weekend when they take on Jeparit-Rainbow. A win against the much-improved Storm would guarantee the Kees a spot in the top-six.
Kalkee have had to earn a finals spot the hard way this season, taking on the top three sides Natimuk United, Laharum and Harrow-Balmoral twice throughout the season. McDonald said however the side were just reaching top form.
"It's been about as tough of a draw as you could get," McDonald said.
"Recently we've been really good for three quarters of netball, but it's been coming undone in the last quarter.
"We're always the underdogs against those top teams ... so we just need to have the confidence and the belief that we can take it up to them. If we play four quarters, I believe we can."
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