Eliza Quinlivan had no plans to play at Thurgoona this season.
In fact, she didn't know if she'd be playing netball at all, just a few months after the birth of her third child, Sophia.
But Quinlivan took the plunge, joined the Bulldogs - and it proved to be an inspired decision.
A series of storming performances by the wing-attack helped Thurgoona climb the Tallangatta league ladder and saw Quinlivan named best-and-fairest at the club's end-of-season presentation.
Having started her career with Lavington as a 15-year-old, Quinlivan spent time at Rand-Walbundrie in between having two babies but hadn't played for a few years prior to 2021.
"I only decided to play a week before round one this year," she revealed.
"One of the girls I played with at Lavington teed me up at the gym, she asked if I had a place to play this year, but I'd only had my daughter a few months earlier.
"However, I decided to go. I went to one training session before we played our first game and I really enjoyed it. I'm glad I made that decision."
A new-look Thurgoona side won just one of its first six matches but then came a fantastic run of seven consecutive wins.
"I'd just come back from having a baby so my fitness was quite low at the start but after a few trainings and a little bit of game time, my match fitness came back up," Quinlivan said.
"You don't lose your skills, the only thing you really lose is your fitness and once you've built that back up, your skills come back as well.
"A few of the girls had played together previously but not as a full team so it took a little bit for us to get going.
"I reckon we found our mojo towards the end of the season before it all was put on hold.
"Our big turning point was the game we won against Yackandandah. They were sitting second or third at the time, we were sixth and we beat them.
ALSO IN SPORT
"From then, we were on a roll, our confidence was pretty high and we bonded so much better after that.
"We had to beat Chiltern, which was our last round of the season, to make the top five and we ended up beating them but then everything happened and it stopped there.
"It was a real bummer that we couldn't play the finals.
"I've only won one other B&F in my life and I was not expecting it at all.
"I had an OK season but I definitely didn't feel I was the best player on the team.
"Most of the girls stood out more than me so I feel very thankful to be up there."
Mardi Nicholson was players' player, with Tori Ellis best-and-fairest in B-grade ahead of Meg Smith.
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