The Sureway Wollongong Roller Hawks have received a boost on the eve of round two of the National Wheelchair Basketball League, with Tristan Knowles set to play following the easing of COVID restrictions in Victoria.
The four-time Paralympian was forced to sit out round one after Victoria went into a snap lockdown leaving him to watch the start of the season unfold via live stream at home.
Watching online from Melbourne was really tough but the team started really well and I'm super pumped to be joining them for round two.Tristan Knowles
"I was due to fly out on Thursday morning when our lockdown was announced that very morning," Knowles said.
"I was so close, called and cancelled the taxi to the airport just an hour before being picked up.
"So deflating. Imagine the excitement I had after nearly 10 years out of a Roller Hawks singlet.
"I'd trained so hard all through last year's lockdowns and got myself in what I feel is the best condition of my career.
"Watching online from Melbourne was really tough but the team started really well and I'm super pumped to be joining them for round two."
On Thursday afternoon, Victoria's Acting Premier James Merlino announced the easing of restrictions across the state with NSW also adjusting their rules which required anyone entering from Victoria to quarantine for 14 days.
Knowles, a founding member for the Roller Hawks, was set to return to the club where it all began last year before COVID cancelled the 2020 season.
It's also an opportunity to push his own case for Paralympics selection after missing out on last weekend's Rollers training camp in Perth due to the lockdown.
"We always want to be at our best," Knowles said.
"It's absolutely an opportunity for certain people to turn the heads of selectors but I feel our playing group looks to go out and be perfect every game, not just when our coaches are watching."
The 2019 NWBL scoring champion will bolster an already formidable Wollongong line-up that won all four of its opening games at Shellharbour two weeks ago.
"It is so exciting to be joining such a strong team with a clear culture of success," he said.
"I think a centrepiece of the team's success over the years has been that it doesn't rely on any one person, but many players getting their job done and I look forward to doing my bit."
The Roller Hawks play two games this round, the first against the Australian U23 Spinners on Saturday at 11am then on Sunday against the Blue Hornets from 1pm at the Hills Basketball Stadium, Castle Hill.