Just what will the doctor order for Millie Lees?
Millie Lees is taking stock.
Left out of the Silver Ferns' squad, to defend their Commonwealth Games title in Glasgow, the Central Pulse midcourter is about to decide whether she's doing herself justice.
Is her career as a doctor going as well as it could? Has she given netball her best shot? Are there other trans-Tasman Netball League teams which might suit her better?
The 25-year-old has strong hunches about those, but first has to negotiate another fortnight as training court opposition for a New Zealand team she gave up plenty to be part of.
Lees arrived in the Silver Ferns camp on Monday knowing she was not going to Glasgow. The camp finally broke yesterday but will reassemble soon, as coach Waimarama Taumaunu tries to make the most of the limited time the team have together before flying out to Scotland.
Lees will be with them right up until the departure gate.
"There are times when I feel really emotional and feel absolutely devastated. Then there are times when I say ‘why do I play netball?' And it's because I enjoy being around the girls and enjoy playing the game and that's what's keeping me going when I'm in camp with the girls," Lees said.
She'd taken six months off work to ensure she was available for this year's Commonwealth Games, Constellation Cup series against Australia and the Fast5 Netball World Series. Now she's contemplating locum shifts and perhaps a fulltime return to the hospital wards, as well as what the longterm future might hold.
"That's the dilemma I'm facing, but first I need to get over the emotional hurdle," said Lees.
"It requires so much commitment and if you're not rewarded for it, it's pretty heartbreaking. So now I've got to work out what to do next year and whether to give it another shot, so that's all my decision-making for the next wee while.
"If I got the opportunity to play in the black dress again, I'd grab it with both hands. But at the moment I'm just trying to work out how I fit it in with work and who I play for."
Having come out of Silver Ferns camp, Lees has a couple of days where teams can offer her a contract for next year. She's yet to hear from the Pulse, following a season in which she finished as a bench player.
Liana Leota became coach Robyn Broughton's preference at wing attack and has now taken Lees' spot in the Silver Ferns squad as well.
"It all came down to decisions that were out of my control. I think I did as much as I could to make myself available and I was really fighting for a spot and trying to push for the Ferns. I don't have any regrets in regards to that," Lees said.
The Dominion Post