MITZI Adamson decided football was the sport for her when she started playing against boys in an under 14 competition.
The Yambuk-based teenager, now 17, harbours AFLW ambitions and will be eligible for the draft in 2021.
Adamson, the second oldest of four siblings, played for Port Fairy's boys side for two seasons before joining Hamilton Kangaroos in the youth girls ranks.
Her ability stood out and helped her earn a spot at NAB League club GWV Rebels.
"I really got into it in under 14s, I played for Port Fairy Seagulls with the boys," Adamson said of her football journey.
"My younger brother (Tobe) played for them and one of the strappers came up to me and said 'you've got a good leg, come and train', so I joined in one of their training sessions and never looked back.
"It was really good for fitness I found, keeping up with the boys, and you just learnt a lot of the little tricks that I think are really important for footy, like how to hold a ball correctly."
Adamson admits her introduction to the team raised a few eyebrows but those concerns quickly dissipated.
"At a couple of training sessions at the start they were like 'hello, what's going on here?'," she recalled.
"I was the first girl and I made the team mixed. A week into it they were like 'you're one of us, let's just go'."
Adamson, who attends Hamilton and Alexandra College, got an opportunity to play NAB League earlier this season. The COVID-19 pandemic then put the competition on hold before it was cancelled this week.
The full-back, who stands at 176 centimetres tall, is tackling the setback with a positive mindset as she strives to re-earn her spot on the list next year.
"It's been weird but I know from the Ballarat Rebels sense of things, they've given us a really strong platform and the coaches have been giving us training programs so they've set us up quite well," Adamson said.
"(I want to) keep up my skills up and try, even though no footy is coming back, to keep to the training program they've given us."
The extended break will also give Adamson, who enjoyed one Western Victoria Female Football League game with Hamilton Kangaroos last weekend before stage three coronavirus restrictions were re-introduced, time to "hone in on weaknesses, like the left-foot kicks or the sprints I need to improve on".
Adamson said making the AFLW was her ultimate football goal. "I think if you're given this opportunity you might as well try your hardest and see how far you can go," she said.
She doesn't have to look far for inspiration - North Melbourne's Emma Kearney, an AFLW best and fairest winner, is from Cavendish.
"I really like what she stands for in footy, her leadership on and off the field is really admirable," Adamson said.