A desire to take the next step in her coaching journey is the catalyst for Pomborneit's Grace Lee landing on Geelong Cricket Club's doorstep.
The highly-regarded women's coach has long made a significant impact on female cricket and participation in the south-west, particularly with the Western Waves within various girls' sides and with Pomborneit as its dedicated and hard-working female coach.
Lee has been appointed into a player-regional coaching role with the Geelong women's program next season - a club flourishing after a highly-successful inaugural season of female cricket which saw the Cats play off in a grand final with a strong contingent of Warrnambool-based players.
She is - in many ways - regarded as a trailblazer for female cricket in the south-west region and will work closely with its most talented youngsters who will play Premier Cricket with the club.
"Stephen Field (director of coaching) had touched base a few times over the last few years so the next step for me was probably coaching that Premier level and getting some more experience," Lee told The Standard of her appointment at Geelong.
"For me it's that next step to keep growing as a person and a coach, I'm really excited to be joining the club."
The excitement for Lee is the opportunity to work closely throughout the south-west in the club's regional hubs across Dunkeld, Warrnambool and Hamilton with local players looking for Premier Cricket experience and guidance without travel pressures.
She said after witnessing Geelong's women cricket program grow in stature it was an honour to join the club.
The role will also involve a playing component which she says is to provide "on-field experience to a young list".
"I was fortunate enough in those initial stages that I'd played a game with Geelong's women's team in the men's comp the year before so I'd heard what was in the pipelines in regards to the program," she said.
"I'm friends with Stephen Field and Sarah Pike (director of women's cricket) and it sounded really exciting. To see it come to fruition, and to see the work being done at a regional level is exciting, and those kids in even places like Swan Hill, I could see how it could link in and benefit our Western Waves programs as well.
"Knowing a lot of the girls playing at Geelong either by playing with them or coaching them, that was a drawcard for me, the club's building a really nice culture. There's a lot of great families and people involved at the club.
"I honestly can't wait to be part of it."
The experienced cricketer will depart Essendon-Maribyrnong Park where she has spent almost a decade playing.
She said her affection for the Bombers will remain.
"It was a tough decision and I mentioned that to EMP, I've been there for nine seasons now, it's a lot of travel and commitment but I love the club," she said.
"It certainly wasn't a comparative sort of thing but even if I had a similar coaching gig at EMP I don't know if I could give as much because of the travel element.
"I had to look at it as a coaching opportunity and an opportunity to move forward, but I'll still follow them and the young girls closely but with a Cats' hat on now."
An experienced cricketer, Lee enjoyed another successful season, combining playing and coaching commitments with Essendon-Maribyrnong Park and Pomborneit.
Her Bulls did unfortunately go down in the Colac and District women's grand final against Bookaar.
"It was a nice season with a couple of games playing with EMP and Pomborneit - unfortunately we went down in the grand final, so credit to Bookaar they outplayed us again so we've got to lift to that level," she said.
"Hopefully Pomborneit will be able to knock them off next year, but who knows."
Director of women's cricket Sarah Pike said Geelong was thrilled to welcome Lee to the club, highlighting her familiarity with the talent pool as a huge factor.
"We are thrilled to have Grace, she's a lot to do with a lot of our players already through the pathway programs and Western Waves," she said.
"Between our playing squad and Puma squad she knows everyone and the players and parents are stoked.
"It's an exciting appointment for us."
Pike said the experience she will provide will hold the club in good stead as the Cats built the women's program and push forward.
"She's had some great experience and success in Premier Cricket," she said. "As we continue to grow and push towards premier ones, hopefully as soon as next season.
"Having that experience is really important for us at this stage of our program."
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