Koroit recruit Zahli Adams didn't waste any time in making a strong first impression at her new club.
The 15-year-old Warrnambool College student, who crossed to her local team from Port Fairy during the off-season, was best on court for the Saints in the Hampden league opener against Hamilton Kangaroos.
Adams, who won a 15 and under premiership with the Seagulls in 2017, will be used primarily in goal defence, but cannot play in Koroit's game against Camperdown on Saturday due to academy zone commitments.
She said she felt welcome at her new club and had been mentored by her partner in crime, goalkeeper Emily Batt, along with senior coach Stacey O'Sullivan and former player Jess O'Connor.
"Running out for Koroit that first time was a bit nerve-racking," Adams said.
"But I knew what my job was and just tried to execute it as best I could.
"The other girls are very encouraging and it's easy to work with them.
"We trained really hard over pre-season and that's helped.
"I just want to work hard and hopefully that comes out on court each weekend."
O'Sullivan said Adams' stellar debut for the Saints did not catch her by surprise.
"I knew she was ready to take that step into senior level and I expect she'll be an important part of our side this year," O'Sullivan said.
"Zahli has so much talent, so it was lovely to see her come out and kill it in her first game.
"She has amazing elevation and closing speed, but also brings that youthful enthusiasm and willingness to learn."
O'Sullivan said Adams had effectively replaced Kasey Owen in goal defence with the latter shifted to wing defence following ongoing back injuries. She joins Belle Baker and Layla Monk in Koroit's injection of youth.
"It was great to pick her up and just made sense for the family to be able to play and train in the actual town they live in," she said.
And while O'Sullivan was rapt with Adams' progress, she said giving talented teenagers game-time at the top level was a well-worn path, with veteran Saints Emily Batt, Bridget Roache, Rachel Dobson and Emily-Rose Finnigan all starting at a similar age.
This, in turn, could further assist the year 10 student's development.
"The older players understand what it feels like to be a 15-year-old on the senior court," O'Sullivan said.
"They know the kids need to be nurtured and won't necessarily pick up everything straight away."
O'Sullivan said she expected a tussle against Camperdown, which defeated Terang Mortlake last week.
"I rate them," she said.
"They've got a good combination of youth and experience."
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