MELISSA Burt started playing competitive netball as a six-year-old with Caramut.
“My older sisters gave me a bit of a push. I’ve just always loved it,” she said.
The idea of rising to the challenge still excites the university student more than a decade on.
Burt, 20, is in the midst of a breakout season with Deakin University, a club she joined after time with Woorndoo-Mortlake, East Warrnambool and Caramut.
But she’s had to transform her game to cement a spot in the A grade side. A defender her full career, she is leading the attack under new coach Kim Jamieson.
“I came from Woorndoo-Mortlake as a goal keeper and Kim has slapped me in at goal shooter,” she said.
“I’ve had to learn to play that position. I had a very shaky start, I didn’t go too flash.”
The turning point came a few weeks ago while, strangely enough, she was sitting in front of a computer.
“There was definitely a moment where it clicked. I couldn’t get my goals in for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong,” she said.
“I was watching these YouTube videos. This one video had Sharelle McMahon and she explained it perfectly.”
The former Melbourne Vixen made shooting look easy.
Her advice, as simple as it was, resonated with Burt.
“(She said) bend the knees more and not bring the ball back behind your head as much, which I was doing,” she said.
The Sharks have been running hot since. They started the season with two wins, lost their next six matches but are unbeaten in their past three.
Victories against Timboon Demons today, East Warrnambool, Russells Creek and Merrivale in the next month would lift them into finals contention.
“We’re finding our form at the moment. I actually don’t know how that happened. It helps when you’ve got such a great centre,” Burt said.
“Nic Richie, her passes into the ring are phenomenal, they’re spot on all the time. We’re just clicking, it’s just working at the moment.”
In other WDFNL A grade matches, winless East Warrnambool will seek revenge against Nirranda when the sides meet at Reid Oval.
The two sides met in round 10, with the Blues breaking their season drought thanks to a 44-25 triumph.
Merrivale hosts Kolora-Noorat at Merrivale Recreation Reserve, a match crucial to both sides’ finals hopes.
The Power, fourth, will move two matches clear inside the top five with a win while the Cats, sixth, can join them on 28 points by triumphing.
Russells Creek faces unbeaten Old Collegians at Mack Oval while Panmure hosts South Rovers at Panmure Recreation Reserve.
Fifth plays third when Allansford welcomes Dennington to Allansford Recreation Reserve in the match of the round.
Victory will mark another step towards a return to finals for the Cats, while the Dogs need to win to shore up their spot in the top three.