Lauren Jackson has credited her time with the Bandits this season for allowing her to once again open the door on her green and gold dream.
It comes following an announcement on Tuesday evening that the 41-year-old mum of two has been selected in the Opals squad to attend a team camp in Canberra next week ahead of the World Cup in Sydney in September.
It marks nine years since the basketball legend last played for Australia.
After coming out of retirement to represent the Albury-Wodonga Bandits in the NBL1 East competition this season, Jackson thanked the border club and community for helping to reignite her international playing aspirations.
"I really feel so thankful to the people here locally that have put in all the hours to get me back to where I am," she told The Border Mail.
"It's done so much for me physically, and even emotionally, being able to get back out on the court in an environment that's so supportive.
"I'm so thankful for the Bandits, I've just had so much fun being able to get back on the court and play with that team and those girls."
While her selection in the national squad marks the first step in her international comeback, Jackson admitted she's not getting her hopes up just yet.
"It's nerve-racking, I never expected it to go this far," she said.
"From when this started, to be here now, it's just mind-boggling and at the moment I'm still in a little bit of shock.
"It's still a long way down the track if I'm going to wear the green and gold and there's a lot of steps to go in that process.
"For me, it's just about this camp next week and hopefully I can get through what they've got for me and we'll see how it goes, anything is possible.
"My perspective is very different now.
"It's been a dream come true."
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Jackson is averaging 32 points and 11 rebounds per game in her return season, seeing her ranked number one in the NBL1 East women's conference statistics.
Bandits' coach Matt Paps said the club was excited to see Jackson named in the squad, having seen her comeback from previous career ending injuries first hand.
"She's not even meant to be playing NBL1 the way she finished, so for her to be able to be selected on top of the fact that she's 41 and a mother of two is quite remarkable," Paps said.
"It's been good as a friend and a coach to see her progress.
"When we started we trained 15 minutes and that was it, and now she's training everyday in the gym.
"Just to be able to see her progress is inspirational, not just for the young kids, but older people in any sport and any form of life to see that you can do anything that you put a bit of work into.
"We're really proud of her and excited for her to get that opportunity to get back into the green and gold."
Depending on what Jackson's schedule may look like with squad commitments, it may mean the Bandits will be without the star guard heading into the second half of the season.
Jackson has missed two games so far this season, which coincided with the side's only two losses.
"What that will mean for us later, will she miss games, probably, and that's fine," Paps said.
"Everyone just has to pick up a bit of slack in every department to make up for her not being there."
As Jackson now awaits the coming weeks to see if her World Cup dream is fulfilled, Paps has full faith in her.
"For me, it's not a shock after her last month and being able to see her strength," he said.
"In my probably very biased opinion, I think she's going to have a very good shot at making that team.
"I think the current Opals would be very lucky to have her.
"Whether she goes all the way or not, just to have her presence there and to grow their culture would be great for the Opals program."
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