A dream she believed was far-fetched will come to fruition on Sunday for SUNS debutant Elise Barwick.
The Tasmanian product, who joined the SUNS just a matter of days before the start of the season as a replacement player, will run out for her first AFLW game at IKON Park with a number of familiar faces in the stands.
The news was delivered by Head Coach Cameron Joyce, and it’s still hasn’t quite sunk in.
“I was so happy, but so shocked… I got a bit emotional,” Barwick told SUNS Media.
“I’ve got my Dad and my partner flying up to watch me play on Sunday as well as two of my really good friends who have relocated to Melbourne.
“If you had have asked me six months ago if I would be debuting on Sunday, I would have laughed.”
It was a commitment to getting the best of herself, similar to what drove her to move to SAFLW outfit South Adelaide for the 2023 season, that has been the key to making that dream come true.
Having been added to the SUNS list on the eve of Round, Barwick knew she had work to do.
“Coming into the side late, I took it upon myself to work hard at training,” Barwick added.
“The coaches have been great with some extra skills work and getting to those sessions has been really beneficial for my cleanliness and ball skills.
“As much as I’ve wanted it, I’ve never thought it was achievable… it just shows if you’re willing to put the time and the work in, good things do happen.”
The 24-year-old has been an asset for the SUNS in defence in match scrimmages outside of the AFLW and will be looking to bring her trademark speed and tenacity into Sunday’s important clash with the Tigers.
“A big thing we’ve worked in is my speed but specifically being able to use that in a game – focusing on driving my legs, taking on the game and giving us a bit more of an offensive option.”
First bounce is at 3.05pm AEDT on Sunday with the match broadcast across Kayo, Fox Footy and the Seven Network (check your local guides).