Persistence has paid off for Lisa Steane with the former Nelson Bay player named to make her AFLW debut when the GWS Giants battle North Melbourne in Tasmania on Saturday.
The 25-year-old Port Stephens product was drafted to the Giants in October after a title-winning campaign with Macquarie University in the Sydney Women's Premier Division.
After being named as an emergency when the Giants beat Gold Coast Suns 9-8 in round one last weekend, Steane was this week promoted to the match-day squad in place of Ellie Brush.
"I'm so excited; I can't wait to play," Steane told the Newcastle Herald.
"It's taken a lot of persistence. I've been in the system since the first year and I guess I just kept getting overlooked. But I was brought back in for their talent program and they were happy to invest the time in me.
"I just made sure I kept working really hard, so I guess that's paid off and now I'm going to get an opportunity to play."
Steane's partner Jeremy Eddy, who introduced the primary school teacher to AFL, broke the surprise news that she had been named in the squad.
"I was at work and one of the teachers came in and said, 'The principal needs to see you in the office'," Steane said.
"Every time you have to go to the principal there's obviously something wrong ... we thought something really bad had happened. Then I walked around the corner and saw the camera and I thought, 'I must be playing'. From there it's all a blur."
It is a moment Steane has dreamt about and now that it is here she plans to seize the opportunity.
"It's going to be a fine balance because I do want to soak it up; I've worked so hard to get here, so I need to acknowledge that," she said.
"But I'm also a realist and I know that just because I've got one game it doesn't guarantee me another game. I need to make sure that I perform and just play my role for the team."
It will not be an easy first assignment with the Kangaroos predicted to be championship contenders.
"They're one of the best teams in the competition, so I'm actually trying not to think about it too much because I don't want to psyche myself out by big names," Steane said.
" I know I'm going in there and nobody knows who I am. They don't know my name and they're not really going to care about me, so I want to try to do the same and just think we're all out there because we're good enough."
Giants coach Alan McConnell said Steane was "probably a bit stiff to miss out in round one".
"She's an interesting player, she can play inside midfielder or outside," McConnell said. "Lisa's probably more adept on the outside but she's also played ahead of the ball, on the wing and behind the ball for us so she gives us a lot of flexibility in how we can set up on the weekend."
Newcastle's Sarah Halvorsen has been named an emergency for the match at the University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston.