Tahlia Tupaea's shoulder was causing so much pain all she could do was utter three words when a photographer asked the Canberra Capitals recruit to cross her arms.
"I actually can't," Tupaea said.
A shoulder injury suffered in a pre-season hit out forced Tupaea to keep her left arm by her side, and would ultimately keep her sidelined for the opening stages of Canberra's WNBL season.
Safe to say the 23-year-old hadn't enjoyed the perfect start to a new chapter in her career after injury derailed her past two years in Sydney.
She broke her foot twice and surgery kept her out of an entire season barring one semi-final game. A posterior cruciate ligament injury then derailed Tupaea'a 2019-20 campaign.
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But now a fit and firing Tupaea is ready to dust off the cobwebs and make a statement against the Sydney Flames at Cairns Pop-Up Arena on Saturday night.
The unforgiving nature of the WNBL's condensed schedule means it is the first of four games the Capitals will play in an eight-day stretch, with one game scrapped from the schedule after the league altered its fixture on Friday evening.
"That's what we live for, playing games," Tupaea said.
"Everyone is just really excited to play with each other, even though it's a short season we have so many games to play with each other.
"I've been with Sydney for eight years, so for me, on and off the court I needed a change. I love Sydney though, that's my home, so I'm not too far away. It was a good change for me, getting out of living in Sydney and getting close with everyone.
"Everyone wants a championship. We have to make the right steps to get there. Although our focus is on that, we're going to put that behind us and just do everything we can to get there."
WNBL officials have been forced to revamp the schedule due to the Adelaide Lightning travelling party having to self-isolate until Monday following advice from Queensland Health in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in South Australia.
All eight teams were originally slated to play 14 regular season games, with that number now cut to 13.
Canberra's clash with the Sydney Flames on November 25 has been cut from the schedule.
Round two: Saturday, November 21 - Sydney Flames v Canberra Capitals at Cairns Pop-Up Arena, 9.30pm