Year 12 is tough but for many it can be a year to remember for good reasons.
Koroit open grade netballer Layla Monk is going to have plenty of milestones to look back on fondly.
Only a fortnight ago, she played in top-grade girls' football and netball premierships for her school, Ballarat Grammar.
"The last week of school (before holidays), we actually won the BAS (Ballarat Associated Schools) premiership - we get to go off and now play in Melbourne against a stronger school," she said.
"And then if we win that we get to play state. So that's pretty exciting."
Grammar beat Loreto College in netball and Ballarat Clarendon College in football.
Monk is enjoying her first consistent top-grade season with the Saints in the Hampden league.
Then last month the 17-year-old earned her Lake Wendouree top-grade debut in the Ballarat Football Netball League after impressing in the BFNL 19 and under division.
She replaced an injured shooter and got in the best players in her first outing.
Those experiences have been great for her netball development as she has played numerous positions.
"On the most recent weekend (for Koroit). I started in goal defence, but then I moved into a wing attack. So I'm sort of just playing goal defence and wing attack," she said.
She plays goal attack and goal shooter with Lake Wendouree.
The teenager is loving the variety.
"That's the main reason I'm still playing with two teams, I think that's why, you know, my parents are probably allowing that to keep going through because I'm learning off so many different players with both leagues and different coaches," she said.
"Learning all positions on the court helps me out a lot because I'm a versatile player. So that means I can go anywhere if someone (a coach) puts me in, which is good."
Monk is typically playing 19 and under for Lake Wendouree on Saturday morning and for Koroit in the afternoon.
She said the HFNL and BFNL were very different and it was hard to say which league is a higher standard.
"It's sort of a tricky question to be asked because in one league I play at the defence end and in other league at the attack end," she said.
"So it's very different. But I don't really have a favorite or not a favorite, because they've both challenged me a lot."
Monk is making all this progress with her netball while juggling her year 12 studies.
The Ballarat Grammar boarder, who hails from Warrnambool, is finding sport a great outlet. "Sometimes it can get a bit stressful, especially living away from home, I guess. And sort of being surrounded by a lot of people all the time, you just sort of (want to) get away," she said.
"And I think that's one thing - my netball and my sport really does that for me. Living away from home, I just can't wait for that Thursday night training (at Lake Wendouree), the dinner that's not the dining hall food in the boarding house.
"The netball on the weekend gives me something to look forward to. So if I do have a lot of study or SACs, I'm like, 'just do the SAC, just do the study, so then you can go and have that game of netball'. And it's sort of my reward basically in year 12."
Monk started boarding in year eight.
She had been playing junior netball with South Warrnambool before the move and didn't play HFNL during her first year in Ballarat.
The teenager decided to join the Saints in year nine.
"All my friends were out at Koroit and my friend's mum was coaching - current open coach Danielle McInerney - the 15s side, and they asked me to come and play," she said. Monk said McInerney had been her coach for many years and was a major influence on her netball.
The youngster won a 15 and under premiership with the Saints and was named best on court. McInerney was coach that year.
The club has recognised Monk's talent for years and she was bench player for the Saints' open grade 2019 premiership team.
Monk otherwise plays footy with South Warrnambool's under 18s in the Western Victoria Female Football League when she is available.
The full-forward/ruck will line-up for the Roosters this Sunday against Hamilton Kangaroos.
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