Williamstown girl Tess Madgen has returned the Australian Opals after a career-threatening knee injury and an ankle reconstruction.
Now 28 years of age, the versatile 180cm basketballer, Madgen has won her way back into the national senior basketball team, the Australian Opals for the 2018 World Cup, which will be held in Spain starting during the month of September.
Back in 2016 she was one of the last Opals squad members cut before the Olympic tournament in Rio.
Madgen injured her knee while playing in Poland during 2017, rupturing her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in her right knee.
She returned to Australia have the surgery and then also needed an ankle reconstruction three months later.
This has been a dream of mine since I’ve been very young.Tess Madgen
Doing the majority of the recovery on her own, Madgen is philosophical about her journey.
The second youngest of Gene and Deb Madgen four children, Tess told the Herald she now understands that everything happens for a reason.
“I’ll do whatever is necessary for the team,” Madgen said. “When I was told I was selected for the World Cup, I cried.
“This new perspective I have, about controlling what I can, and leaving the outside elements has helped a lot.”
Madgen played her first game for the Opals colours in a qualifying tournament in 2011 against New Zealand in Sydney.
“This is very exciting,” Madgen said, “It’s the first time I’ve been selected in a major tournament for my country.
“The pinnacle - the two big events you want to play in as an Opal - are the World Cup and the Olympics.
“This has been a dream of mine since I’ve been very young.
“We have a number of players including Liz Cambage from the WNBA in America and we are confident that we can produce a strong performance in Spain and am keen to bring a home a medal.”
While recovering from her knee reconstruction Madgen signed a contract to play this summer (2018-19) for the Townsville Suns in this nation’s WNBL competition.
To prepare for this she has been player in the SEABL competition with underpins the WNBL with Dandenong.
Placed into Group B at the World Championships, the Opals (ranked fourth in the world) will take on Nigeria (ranked 34th), Argentina (ranked 15th) and Turkey (ranked 7th) in the pool stage.
The Opals claimed FIBA World Cup bronze medals in 1998, 2002 and 2014 as well as a gold medal in 2006 and will be aiming to replicate that success this year.