Tomi Gavin is the no longer the rose amongst the thorns.
Six years after she first laced up the boots for the Tamworth District Junior Rugby Union Club (as it was then) and was the only girl in her side, the trailblazing pocket rocket is reveling in her first season of women's rugby.
Playing with Pirates, she is loving it.
The 16-year old had been biding her time for the opportunity, training with them for the last couple of years and counting down to when she was eligible to play seniors.
"I've been looking forward to it for a few years," she said.
"It's a great experience. There's a lot of skill up there and they can teach me a lot of stuff."
Gavin's story is a common one, although becoming less so.
After watching her elder brothers Harry and Archie play, she decided she too wanted to and so signed up with the Tri-Colurs.
Starting out in the under-10s she was not only the only girl in her team but at the time the whole club. It was something she experienced at a rep level too in those early days.
Since then more girls have gravitated to the sport with Gavin part of a wave of juniors coming through Pirates.
"It's crazy to see how many more girls have joined the sport in the last just couple of years," she said, when asked how it was reflecting on those early days.
It's great to see, she added.
There are also more opportunities.
As well as seniors, Gavin also plays for the Pirates under-16s girls in the Friday night competition and will next month go away to the combined Country/State Championships with the Central North under-16s girls.
Pirates co-coach Anthony Barbara said she has been huge for them this season.
"She always gives 100 per cent, is always one of the girls that leads from the front with effort," he said.
Quietly spoken off the field, on it Gavin is "very competitive and gritty" and doesn't fear anything. No challenge is "too hard" for her.
She also "shows a lot of leadership qualities for someone her age", he said, has "a good understanding of the game" and is skillful: she "can kick, pass, run tackle".
Along with footy, Gavin's other great love is animals.
She is currently studying - through TAFE - vet nursing. As an "offside job" she works as a concreter with Tufrey's Concreting & Plastering.
On Saturday she and her Pirates team-mates will be looking to avenge a 50-21 thrashing last weekend when they host Narrabri.
The women's rematch will kick things off at Ken Chillingworth Oval at 12.55pm with second grade following at 1.50pm and then the blockbuster first grade clash at 3.15pm.
Impressive against Walcha last week they will welcome back Nick McCrohan and Andrew Moodie. The latter will partner Damian Reti in the centres with coaches Mick Squires, Doug Biffin and Evan Kellow opting to keep Jayden Kitchener-Waters at 10 after his strong performance there.
In other games Inverell host Gunnedah while Scone travel to Quirindi.
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