The moment WNBL euphoria sinks in for Maddison Rocci
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The moment WNBL euphoria sinks in for Maddison Rocci

Maddison Rocci feels like she is walking on air.

A WNBL triumph in her second season, playing a key role in a star-studded squad, immortalised in Canberra Capitals history as the 2018-19 Capital on the Rise. All at the age of 20.

The Capitals' rising star Maddison Rocci wants to return to the WNBL club.

The Capitals' rising star Maddison Rocci wants to return to the WNBL club.Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

Rocci claimed the Capital on the Rise gong at the club's awards night on Tuesday, and she expects the elation of Canberra's drought-breaking championship win in front of a sold-out crowd will finally sink in when she is 35,000 feet in the air on Wednesday.

She won't be walking - rather on a flight home to Melbourne to see her family, some of whom made the trek to both Adelaide and Canberra to see the rising star play on the biggest stage of her career.

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The moment the flight lands, she will well and truly have been brought back down to earth, finally able to comprehend what she has accomplished over the past few months.

"I guess on that flight home it will be real. I’ll take time to think and reflect back on this, I can’t even talk about it, it’s so good," Rocci said.

"It doesn’t really feel real. It was an amazing group that Gorrie put together and our goal from the start of the year was to win a championship and we did it.

"I can’t believe I’ve actually won a championship in my second season, I’m pumped and it was exciting. There aren’t really many words to express that feeling of winning a championship.

"It was amazing, even though it went to a three-game series. To come back and play in front of our 5000 fans in Canberra, that roar when we came out, it was amazing. I can’t even speak words for it.

"We knew they were behind us and we just wanted to get that extra little bit and give back to them, they’ve supported us all season."

Maddison Rocci drives to the basket.

Maddison Rocci drives to the basket.Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

The Capital on the Rise award was a fitting way for Rocci to finish her sophomore season. The fact she was there for the hardships of 2017-18 alongside Keely Froling and Lauren Scherf means she won't be taking award or championship rings for granted.

The Werribee product dazzled in her first WNBL campaign, with her swift handles regularly leaving much more experienced defenders stranded.

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That was just a taste of what was to come from the rising star dubbed an Opal-in-waiting. A star-studded roster this season saw Rocci's role change slightly, but her bright talents never dimmed.

Rocci has outlined her desire to link up with the Capitals next season as the club begins a recruitment drive in the hope of turning this title into the birth of a dynasty.

"I want to come back to Canberra, it’s such a great club. I’ve loved playing here for the past two seasons, it’s been so much fun. I’m hoping I can head back down to Canberra which would be really good," Rocci said.

Kelsey Griffin capped off a stellar season with the Capitals' most valuable player and Kellie Abrams defensive player of the year award awards, having already won the WNBL MVP and Rachael Sporn medal in the grand final series.

Her fellow co-captain Marianna Tolo won the players' player to bring down the curtain on Canberra's championship season.

CANBERRA CAPITALS 2018-19 AWARDS

MVP: Kelsey Griffin

Players' Player: Marianna Tolo

Capital on the Rise: Maddison Rocci

Kellie Abrams Defensive Player of the Year: Kelsey Griffin

Caden Helmers is a sports reporter for The Canberra Times

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