STELLA Bridgewater had no hesitation jumping back into football when a junior girls' competition started in Warrnambool.
The decision has reaped rewards with the South Warrnambool teenager now preparing for her first NAB League season.
Bridgewater, 17, was one of 38 players picked in Greater Western Victoria Rebels' squad, which was unveiled on Tuesday.
The Warrnambool College student played football as a child before concentrating on surf lifesaving and netball.
But the decision to introduce a female football competition, to be known this year as Western Victoria Female Football League, almost three years ago changed the course of her sporting pathway.
"I straight away thought about how fun it was going to be to finally get to play with all the girls," Bridgewater said.
"And it was a great opportunity - I made a bunch of new friends. Season one was pretty messy (overall) but now it's really good, actually getting good kicks in and a bit of game play."
Bridgewater, who no longer plays netball, believes her selection in the Rebels' squad, along with South Warrnambool teammate Rosie Pickles, is a credit to the Roosters' program.
"I reckon it's good because it makes my coach (Chris Meade) proud of me," she said.
The hard-running midfielder has found a second football home, adjusting to life with the Ballarat-based Rebels with ease.
She credited Rebels mentor Rhys Cahir for providing a welcoming environment.
"As soon as I got there I felt like I'd been there for ages," Bridgewater said.
Bridgewater is now aiming for a spot in the Rebels' round one team to face Sandringham Dragons on February 29.
The right-footer knows there are areas of her game she must improve to cement her spot in the statewide competition but is backing in her attributes too.
"Get a bit more physical, I could probably work on that around the contest," she said.
"I feel like my fitness was a bit of a standout because with the running I was one of the fastest and locally I sort of stood out."
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