Ashleigh Walker never expected to have the opportunity to play Super W but the Moree native has grabbed it with both hands.
The 21-year old was one of the Melbourne Rebels' best in both attack and defence in their opening round 33-3 loss to defending champions the NSW Waratahs.
"I had a fun game, NSW are a really good side but I think we played pretty well as a team," Walker reflected.
"It's my first time playing at 12 so I'm still kind of finding my feet, but I had a few good carries and a few turnovers."
"There's still heaps for me to work on and I'm looking forward to the Brumbies game next week."
A Central North and Country representative, Walker said she had watched a bit of previous Super W seasons but after moving from Moree down to Newcastle had concentrated more on work than sport.
"I'd never really thought about playing rugby at a higher level because the programs are full on and you kind of really need to live in a city to make trainings etc," she said.
"When I moved to Melbourne the opportunity came up and I took it."
She was scouted to trial for the Rebels by coach Alana Thomas after impressing for the University of Melbourne during last year's AON Uni 7s, and learnt that she was in the starting team on the way to training.
"I was stoked to be on the starting team, but didn't spend too much time celebrating before it was time to focus on training and getting the job done," she said.
Her parents Darren and Angela, and grandparents were fortunately able to work it out to get down to Melbourne to watch her debut, which was special.
"My parents and grandparents have always tried to come to my games so they talked about it in passing, but weren't sure if they'd make it to Melbourne because it's two flights and they had to take time off work," she said.
"They called about a week ago (to say they were going to be coming down), it was an awesome feeling."
"Dad basically taught me how to play footy, so it was good for them to be there when we got to run out at AAMI."
Her twin brother Josh, and younger brother Jayden, both of whom are also pretty handy footballers, weren't able to get down there but did watch online, as did her nanna in Port Macquarie. Josh is actually currently trialling with the Sunshine Coast Falcons, who are a feeder club to the Melbourne Storm.
Walker's first real exposure to elite level rugby, she said the biggest difference has been the standard, and amount of training.
"There's a lot of classy players in our side and in the Super W; it's a great platform for girls to develop and get more game time," she said.
"The preparation is also a lot more intense."
"Coming from the country, playing in rep teams you sort of only meet the people you're playing with the night before a tournament. Here we've been training three-four times a week together for about three months."
The Rebels will tackle the Brumbies at home on Saturday afternoon.