In the five years since she first pulled on the Tamworth black and white, Nicole Hamilton has experienced some big changes both on and off the field.
From fledgling chicks, consistently scrambling to get enough players and battling for wins, she has seen the Magpies transform into a force in the New England women's competition.
She has also got married and become a mother, with Hamilton and husband Blake welcoming a daughter, Lacey, 18 months ago.
It was through Blake that she came to be associated with the Magpies, going along to watch him play.
"When they started to put together a women's team, I was looking for a change of sport so I thought 'okay I'll give that a go'," she said.
She had had a bit of a taste, playing in the Magpies' Summer 7s competition. That got her interested.
Five years on, the former hockey player says she has found her sport.
"I love it," she said.
On Saturday she helped the Magpies thrash Glen Innes 41-5 and post their fifth win of the season.
"It was a really good win and it felt really good," Hamilton said.
"It was pretty crisp and not really much to fault so I think that was really good coming off a few weeks off."
Ash Bridge continued her try-scoring ways crossing for a double along with Aimee Watts.
Their second win over the Elkettes this season, it was a nice confidence boost for competition leaders Baa Baas this Saturday, and another big step towards a top four finish. It pushed them 15-points clear in third.
That they are in a position to be challenging for finals is a measure of the "massive growth" the women's side has experienced over the last five years, and which Hamilton has witnessed first hand.
The 28-year old has played every year bar 2020 (she was pregnant with Lacey then).
It is also reward for the club and the players for their perseverance through what where some tough times.
Reflecting on that first year, Hamilton said it "was a struggle".
"It was really hard to stay motivated when you're always short and not really winning anything," she said.
"But just had to stick with it. And I think those close to the club and the team could see the potential and just didn't want to give up on it."
Blake was one of those. He coached them for the first few years of their journey. It created a bit of an interesting dynamic with Nicole playing too.
"It wasn't too bad, most of the time we were able to separate home life and football," she said.
"Sometimes after training we'd sort of have to put a ban on it, 'right no more football talk'."
"It wasn't a negative thing, it was just very consuming."
Just as the Magpies have, Hamilton's game has developed over the years.
Coach Rob Mills has often commented on her defence.
It is one of the strengths of her game. But that wasn't always the case.
That first year, she said, she "missed a lot of tackles". She was there to make the tackle but just missed it.
"So I just made it a bit of a goal to pick up on that and actually back myself to make those tackles, which I can now," she said.
"I back myself to make the tackle, whereas I don't think I had the confidence or the technique in those early days."
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