THE 2020 AFL Women's season is one Nowra's Maddy Collier won't forget anytime soon.
It all started at the end of last season when she decided to leave the Greater Western Sydney Giants, after three campaigns, and pen a two-year deal with inaugural franchise West Coast.
It only took the Nowra High School alumna a small amount of time at the Eagles to make an impact on the club, after she was named in their leadership group.
"Being named in the leadership group was amazing and definitely not something I expected," Collier said.
"I knew I had an influence on the group, as I was one of the more experienced girls but I didn't realise how much - leadership can come in many forms, depending on the time of the year.
"To be nominated for the position by my peers is totally humbling and I can't think of anything more endearing - as I love my teammates."
The 24-year-old was then named to start on the half-forward flank for the club's first-ever game against Collingwood on February 9.
"It was really special pulling on the guernsey for the first game and to be a part of that match," she said.
"Our group became tight-knit very quickly, which made it even more special to run out alongside some of my best friends.
"We were all excited, which showed by our amazing first quarter display - the pressure we exerted during that term was amazing and really laid a platform for us for the rest of the season.
"Although we went on to lose that game, there were plenty of positive signs to come from it."
Then in round four, all the hard work during the pre-season and opening three weeks was rewarded when the Eagles recorded their historic first win, downing the Western Bulldogs at Leederville Oval.
"To put it in context, that was probably the fifth time we had played together as a group, while this is the Bulldogs fourth year in the competition," Collier, who's mother Carole was in attendance that day, said.
"We didn't listen to any of that external noise [about the losses] and concentrated on us, as we knew our brand of footy held up - it was just about playing more consistently and not letting it fall away towards the end of quarters.
"I thought we were the better side on the day and deserved to win that game - it was a reward and relief for the whole group.
"To also be part of the group to sing the club's first-ever victory song (now remixed by Birds of Tokyo) was very special and something I'll never forget."
The AFL South Coast product's side would go on to lose their next two games - with Collier missing the latter because of a hip injury sustained at training - before the AFLW decided to cancel the rest of the season due to the coronavirus.
"In the past couple of weeks, with the program being put on hold, footy has really taken a back seat, as people's livelihoods are on the line," Collier, who decided to stay in Perth during this period, said.
"It's not just our club that's affected, it's both competitions and we've all got to do our part to help society through this tough time.
"I know our group are doing all the right things, as well as constantly checking up on each other and seeing if we're each okay - I know we will all get through this together."
It's this environment at the club that has impressed Collier most during the season.
"As soon as I stepped footy into the club, you could just feel the culture there," she said.
"It's not just the players - every single person in the club as the right approach.
"There's the mentality that every single person plays their role, to the greater benefit of everyone at the club - there's a long-term focus and we know it'll all start to pay off soon."
Now that's she's had a bit of time to reflect on the season, Collier knows there's plenty of promising signs to build on.
"If you just look at the losses, you might think we didn't have a good season, but the way I see it, there's now an opportunity for us to get better and be the most improved side next season," she said.
"A lot of the girls hadn't been in an AFL system before this year but now know what's expected - we are all on the same page and know what we want to achieve as a group."
From a personal point of view, Collier is also concentrating on the positives.
"I didn't have the season I wanted personally, as I wanted to try and get my consistency back, which I had lost the past couple of seasons with the Giants," she said.
"Towards the end of the season, I started to play with more confidence and play to my strengths
"I've definitely improved as a player and don't regret my decision to move west."
Looking ahead, Collier, who is now taking a break from footy to rest her body and mind, has a couple of aspects she wants to work on during the off-season, going into year two with Luke Dwyer's squad.
"I'm firstly going to take a couple of weeks off and not think about footy - just have some 'me time' before restarting regular exercise," she said.
"When we can return to structured training, I want to get back to basics and work on my general skills, to become more of a one-touch player.
"I also want to become a better leader and figure out how that looks both on and off the field."