Sydney's Bella Smith has reflected on the full circle moment as she prepares for a return to her former home ground for Saturday's AFLW semi-final in Adelaide.
Smith played her junior footy for Port Pirie in South Australia, then moved to Norwood Redlegs where she played three seasons for the club in the SANFL before signing for Collingwood in 2021.
As the Swans gear up to face minor premiers Adelaide at Norwood Oval, Smith is thrilled to have her family in attendance, but her primary focus remains on securing a victory.
"I guess a little bit of a 360 for me playing my several years there (Norwood Oval), it's played a big part in my footy career," Smith said.
"To come back there in front of all my family is exciting, but I guess that's not why we're going back there, we're going there to win a game.
"So as good as it is, there's probably a bigger focus."
While the sentimental journey adds a personal touch, the spotlight shifts to the competitive arena where Smith is focused on preparations for the do-or-die clash against the Crows.
Smith says the team carry the conviction that their recent success is no coincidence, including last week's win on the Gold Coast, emphasising the journey that has led Sydney to their maiden semi-final.
"There is this unwavering belief in the group that we could anything at the moment, four on the trot ... we were in the top eight for a reason and now we're in the top six, so why not," Smith said.
It has been an incredible 12-month turnaround for the Swans, going from wooden spooners to semi-finalists, with Smith attributing that to the strong bond in the squad.
"We can't talk high enough of it, it's such a big deal with the team connection and it is such a genuine connection between the group ... I just feel this sense of value," Smith said.
"I'm playing my role for the team which just wants me to play better."