Chemistry has Verity Simmons in a Fever
WEST Coast Fever wing attack Verity Simmons admits the fridge and cupboard she shares with fiancée and Western Force hooker Nathan Charles resembles a chemist shop.
Despite battling cystic fibrosis, Charles remarkably plays in one of the toughest competitions in the world, Super Rugby, while Simmons suffers from type-one diabetes.
So while Saturday's game against her former team, the record-breaking Queensland Firebirds, is as big as they come, just getting on the court is a victory for the 24-year-old.
That proved to be a difficult task for a different reason last year.
The Grafton product broke her wrist against the Central Pulse in round two of the ANZ Championship and did not start another game in Queensland's championship-winning season.
Now in good form for the Fever and happy to be reunited with Wallabies representative Charles - after starting her ANZ Championship career in Perth - Simmons said a testing 2015 made her stronger.
"It was so frustrating. It was just a little broken wrist," she told Australian Regional Media.
"But I used that to get the fittest I've ever been - I was running so much.
"Sitting on the bench also taught me to be a good team player.
"It was a learning experience which I appreciated."
Simmons also learns a lot from Charles, which helps in her daily battle against diabetes.
She suffered blurred vision as a result of high blood glucose levels in the Firebirds' 2014 grand-final loss to the Vixens, and had to leave the court for some insulin, before returning.
But Charles also has a fight on his hands every day - he is believed to be only person in the world playing a major contact sport with cystic fibrosis.
He was told not to expect a 10th birthday.
"I can't speak highly enough of him - I'm the luckiest girl to have someone like him who loves me and inspires me," Simmons said.
"Our fridge and cupboard is like a pharmacy with all the medication we have."
Firebirds coach Roselee Jencke will set a new competition record of 71 wins if her first-placed team makes it 20 wins on end in Perth on Saturday.
She has coached just 95 ANZ Championship games.
"Rose sets such high standards - if you're late to training you get locked out and you don't train, but the girls at the Firebirds always rise to the occasion," Simmons said.
"It wasn't so much disappointment for me when I left the Firebirds - I had an option to stay.
"But there was an opportunity to be back in Western Australia with Nathan, and being back at the Fever feels like home for me."