DANNIE Carstens says she realised pretty quickly last year how much work she needed to put in to succeed in the Australian Netball League after getting her first taste of the competition.
That dedication has paid off for the 29-year-old after being crowned the Tassie Spirit's MVP for 2014.
The award continues Carstens's successful return to netball after snapping her Achilles tendon in 2012.
"Last year I realised pretty quickly how hard I would have to work, and a lot of that had to do with coming back from the Achilles," she said yesterday.
"My goal this season was to be able to compete for four quarters against these players, and as you get older you do realise how much hard work you do have to do.
"It (the injury) did give me the motivation to get myself fitter to be able to compete with the younger girls (in the ANL)."
Playing mainly at goal defence, she achieved her aims, playing 33 out of possible 36 quarters for the Spirit as their mainstay down back, with her performances seeing her finish fourth in the competition's MVP award.
She formed a strong partnership with Kirra Parsons and Sandra Bennett for the Spirit, who equalled their best ANL season this season with three wins and seventh place on the ladder.
Coach Jon Fletcher was yesterday full of praise for Carstens.
"Dannie had an outstanding tournament performing at a high level across all nine games," he said.
"She was an inspiration to her teammates and finishing fourth in the ANL MVP Award was great recognition for her consistent quality of play."
The grade six teacher at Riverside Primary School has played more than 200 games and is a former coach of the Cavaliers in the State League.
She won her club best and fairest, made the All Star side this year for the sixth time and was runner-up in the State League best and fairest, an award she won in 2009.
Spirit goal shooter Sophie Gunn finished fourth in the ANL for total goals (with 223 from 273 attempts at 81.7 per cent), with her average of 28 goals a match was third in the competition.