MIKAELA DOMBKINS insists she's ready to make a WNBL comeback and wants to use a stint with the Canberra Capitals to force her way into the Australian Opals.
Dombkins is in a fight to revive her basketball career and she's confident she can prove to Canberra coach Carrie Graf she has fully overcome a back injury.
Less than a year ago Dombkins couldn't walk after rupturing a disc in her back.
The 25-year-old has only just started running without a limp and now she has one more pre-season match to impress Graf and win a Capitals contract.
An Australian Institute of Sport graduate and former Sydney Uni Flame, Dombkins said her ultimate goal was to get back to the form which made her a star junior and break on to the senior international stage.
''I know I'm still not 100per cent but I just feel so grateful to be given a second chance to play,'' Dombkins said.
''Every time I feel like I'm almost there and can reach the Opals, I get injured.
''I haven't been able to put two solid WNBL seasons back to back then hopefully if I can stay injury free making the Opals is something I'd like to get there.
''I think once I get a chance I will be able to show I can hold my own at that level. London is a goal but the 2016 Olympics is something I'm definitely looking at.''
Dombkins was solid for the Capitals in their pre-season match against the AIS at the AIS Training Hall yesterday.
The Capitals just held on to beat their younger cross-town rivals 73-71.
Graf's team has another match against the institute on Tuesday before finalising preparations for the WNBL season-opener on October8.
Michelle Cosier's battle with osteitis pubis has opened the door for Dombkins to be given a bigger workload during the season, should she be offered a contract.
Graf wants to wait and see how the guard's body holds up after some intense training and pre-season games.
Dombkins's ruptured disc was the latest in list of horror injuries. While she was on scholarship at the AIS she ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament and when she was nearing the peak of her powers she was cut down by a staph infection in her back.
And Dombkins is so determined to reignite her career, she has vowed to remain in Canberra to train under Graf even if she isn't given a WNBL contract.
''I believe I'm fine to play in this league but at the end of the day it's Graffy's call.
''Even if I don't get the spot, I'll stay here to train and be under Graffy and maybe halfway through the season she thinks I've improved.
''It just feels right here and I feel like I belong ... basketball has been a dream and a passion of mine since I was 10 years old and I know it sounds silly, but I couldn't live without playing.''
The Capitals will add former NSW representative junior Lauren Angel to their wider squad for the season to add extra height to the team.
Graf's team narrowly avoided a pre-season boilover in the tight win against the institute.
Captain Jess Bibby hit two free throws with seven seconds left to lift her team to victory.
AT A GLANCECANBERRA CAPITALS 73 (Marianna Tolo 23, Jess Bibby 19, Carly Wilson 10) bt AIS 71 (S Blicavs 23, T Lavey 14, C Milovic 13)
TUESDAY: Capitals v AIS, at AIS Training Hall, 5pm.
WNBL round one: October 8: Capitals v Bulleen Boomers, at Veneto Club, 1pm. October 9: Capitals v Dandenong Rangers, at Dandenong, 12.30pm.
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