Zanelle Gerecke was born to lead.
She's the first to admit that coaching was always on the cards for her, it was just a matter of what sport it would be.
In the end it was her love of netball that won.
"I always loved sport," Gerecke said.
"I was that kid at school who played hockey, netball, softball and basketball.
"Even when I was young I liked coaching.
"As a teenager I'd have little kids running around, but nothing serious.
"One year my son (Scott) had some friends who needed a coach, and I said I'd do it.
"Somewhere along the lines I just kept doing it and we ended up going to Thurgoona as a family."
It marked the start of a successful decade at the club, leading the Bulldogs to three A-grade flags and assisting in another, while also coaching B-grade to premierships in three of those same seasons.
All up Gerecke was responsible for helping land 12 flags throughout the club's netball grades during her reign.
Her sideline presence also saw her named Tallangatta and District Netball Association Coach of the Year twice, as well as the North East Border senior coach of the year in 2015.
But it's the 2013 season that stands out for her, claiming A and B grade grand finals in her second year as a senior coach.
She had even created her own language.
"I had what I called Z-isms, which the girls knew what I was talking about," she said.
"I'd say something really random and they'd know what I meant.
"One thing I wanted to do was raise good humans, rather than just good netballers.
"It was always important to me to teach them life lessons on the court."
While she always loved playing, being a playing coach was never her plan.
"For me it was always coaching," she said.
"I loved playing, but off the court I could see so much more."
With her success as a coach also came a long list of talented players to step on court for the Bulldogs.
"There's a lot that have moved onto the Ovens and Murray league," Gerecke said.
"I've always said if we ever went to war I'd want to be in the trenches with Kristen Andrews because she's a workhorse.
"Then there was the likes of Jenny Vine (Barrett), Sharla Sutcliffe, Ash Jacobs and Gina Skinner."
Gerecke attributes much of Thurgoona's glory years to building the foundations right from the bottom, ensuring the development of the club's youngsters.
"We were very competitive, and that's because we worked hard at it," she said.
"I implemented some programs so that the seniors had a buddy.
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"The seniors always turned up for the juniors and I'd encourage the juniors to come and train with the seniors."
Zanelle isn't the only Gerecke to have had triumphant seasons with the Bulldogs, with kids Scott, Luke and Tayla also becoming premiership players.
Luke has played in three senior football flags, Scott in four reserve flags, and Tayla is a two-time C-grade netball winner.
But most people would know middle child Luke as 'Kev.'
"There was this main character of a movie called Kev who was a superhero on a bike," Gerecke said.
"We just called him Kev one day when he was about seven and it stuck.
"I had someone say to me one day 'I didn't know you had three boys,' and I had to say Luke and Kev are the same person."
Her husband Brian also dedicated countless hours to the club as a committee member, with the pair stepping away from their duties in 2019 as life members.
Gerecke admitted they saw many changes at Thurgoona since their arrival.
"Tony Way was doing a great job as president and I think that's where the success started from," she said.
"When I first went there there was a bit of a division where the netballers didn't go to the football and the footballers didn't go to the netball.
"I'd speak to the senior coach and we started playing some football and netball together
"For most of the time I was there I organised an Amazing Race.
"The netballers would head to the stairs at the start of Dean Street and I'd send out clues, which was a logistical nightmare.
"They were doing about 15 kilometres in a night running up Monument Hill.
"Eventually I got the boys involved too and that was a lot of fun.
"Every year surpassed the next with bonding.
"A couple of them ended up together and there's quite a few married now with kids."
With Luke and Scott playing for Rand-Walbundrie-Walla this season, Gerecke is now enjoying Saturdays as a mum and supporter.
"It's the only season that I've actually watched both boys as adults play a full game of football, because I was always over at the netball," she said.
"It didn't worry them, but there was always huge sacrifices and a lot of tears from me.
"I'm often my hardest critic.
"Now we take our deck chairs and the most Brian has to do on Saturdays is go to the canteen."
While Gerecke's time on the netball sidelines has now ended, she's found a new way of coaching after taking over Albury gym The Shed with her business partner last year.
"I coach in a different light now," she said.
"We're training ladies to transform their bodies.
"Them succeeding is the best feeling.
"I'm passionate about what I do and I love every minute."
Looking back on her long and successful career, she's glad she took that initial leap to start coaching.
"I'm not sure why it was netball, it just was," she said.
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