Scrolling through her Instagram page – her feed littered with victorious shots of various netball finals, cute pics with her husband Joel and perhaps most poignantly, the image of three gold medals lined up next to each other – Silver Ferns star Katrina Rore had to laugh when she came acrossa comment left by a fan:
"I want to marry a Rore too, so I can start winning at life as well!"
"We liked that one – we posted that in the family chat," the stunning defender tells Woman's Day with a laugh.
"But I guess it's true. These last 12 months have just been insane. We got married, I got dropped from the Ferns, the Pulse won the ANZ Premiership, I got back in the Ferns, we won the World Cup, and then I went to Sydney and played in their domestic league and won that!"
It's been almost a year since Woman's Day caught up with the bubbly athlete at her breathtaking clifftop wedding in Wellington.
And it's here in the capital, again high on the hills surrounding the city, that we're chatting about the whirlwind that has been her and Joel's first 10 months as a married couple.
Only instead of showing off her gorgeous wedding ring to our photographer, it's metal of a much different variety. The three gold medals Katrina has won in 2019 – one each for the Central Pulse, New South Wales Swifts and, of course, the Silver Ferns, means she's the only athlete in the sport's history to win all three in the same year.
Not bad, considering the fact that in December last year, Katrina – who most people, including Joel, call "Pole" thanks to her 1.86m frame – was dropped from the Silver Ferns squad, and was left pondering whether or not to chuck in the towel altogether.
"It's been a crazy year for both of us, eh?" Katrina, 32, asks, turning to her husband.
"Yeah, especially after that December camp," he says.
"Phwoar, it was tough. When I got that phone call from her saying she didn't make it … I was in Hamilton, so I left work straight away and drove up to get her in Auckland. Man, I had to hold my own tears in on the phone.
"But then I watched her work through it. I've never seen someone work so hard for something – she was set on getting back in that team. And when she did, I was so proud. To watch her here today, having achieved so much … it's happy days!"
Joel, a builder, has truly been Katrina's biggest cheerleader. A regular fixture on the sidelines no matter what game she's playing, Joe's pride in his wife is clear – from the encouraging smiles to the cute comments he leaves on her social media posts to the admiring grin he offers when Katrina walks into the lounge all made up for our photo shoot.
"Stunning, Pole," he tells his wife.
"He's the first person I look for in the crowd," Katrina says, smiling. "I couldn't have done any of this, got through any of this, without him. I'm so lucky. If he wasn't there when I got dropped … but in saying that, to have someone to share the wins with is pretty awesome too."
Following the Ferns' epic World Cup victory, Joel, 27, accompanied Katrina to Sydney, where she was offered the unexpected opportunity to play in Australia's Suncorp Super Netball competition for the NSW Swifts as an injury cover.
"We said yes to doing it, then figured it out later," says Katrina. "And it was brilliant. Playing in Sydney was such an experience, and who knows if I'll ever get to do it again?"
Katrina joined the likes of fellow Silver Fern Laura Langman in the Australian league, with the final against her and Noeline Taurua's Sunshine Coast Lightning proving a real Kiwi affair. And despite her patriotism, Katrina was embraced wholeheartedly by the Swifts' fans, who even gave her a new nickname – Kitty Kat Rore.
"Well, the Aussies try really hard to pronounce Rore, but some of them just can't!" she laughs.
The rollercoaster journey has definitely changed her as a person – along with a whole lot of new resilience, it's obvious to all those around her that she is wonderfully, beautifully happy.
"Being happy helps, doesn't it?!" she says.
"But yeah, I am. I'm so content. I see things from a different view now. Balance was a big one for me – learning that netball isn't everything. I'm focusing on a lot of goals outside of it now too, but I've never loved playing more!"
As she gears up for the last campaign of the year – the always hotly contested Constellation Cup, which will see the Ferns once again do battle with old foes Australia – she and Joel are looking forward to some downtime. Or what Joel adorably calls "Pole and Joel time".
"We'll catch up with my family, and just spend some time together, just us," he says.
"I'm quite social, where she's happy to just chill at home a lot, so we bring out the best in each other. It's a good mix. It's not often that we have a lot of time, just us two, so I'm looking forward to that."
"November and December is Joel's time," adds Katrina. "Whatever he wants to do, we'll do it! From there, we'll take it all as it comes. I don't know if I'll do another four years of playing – it seems like a bit of a stretch, but we'll see.
"I keep hashtagging #livingmybestlife on all my posts and I really am. I reckon that sums it all up nicely!"
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