Car enthusiast and Brisbane Heat allrounder Sammy-Jo Johnson has taken the scenic route to the WBBL final, and a possible green and gold call-up next month.
The 26-year-old has been a focal point of the Heat's charge to their first decider this Saturday against the star-studded Sydney Sixers, nipping the new ball around and bludgeoning attacks after a promotion to No.3.
But it's been no ordinary rise for the Lismore talent, who jumped between cities and schools in her youth and all but gave up on her cricketing ambitions following her dad's death six years ago.
The sports-mad Johnson couldn't stay away and now finds herself in the conversation for a spot in next month's Australian squad to play a home series against New Zealand.
"That's the dream goal, to play for Australia," she said.
"That (Australia A tour) was a good realisation that I'm good enough to compete with the best in the country, if not the world.
Johnson has balanced part-time work at Super Cheap Auto - where the car-lover gets her automotive fix - with the running of a landscaping business, while she is also studying to become a qualified gardener.
She runs the business from her laptop even while the Heat are on the road competing and is in the market for another ute to keep up with the growing operation.
"I wouldn't say I'm the best at time management, but I get it done and I like the challenge of working, studying and playing," she said.
"Cricket is my time to switch off from work and (this season's been) so much fun.
"I've enjoyed every second on and off the park; it's a good vibe, we've got a good bunch of girls and it's not a chore to come here (to training)."
The Heat and the Sixers both survived intense semi-final finishes last weekend and Johnson says her side isn't scared of facing a team headed by Australian standouts Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry and Ashleigh Gardner.
"So's the Brisbane Heat," Johnson said when reminded of the Sixers' all-star cast.
"No matter who we play, we've got the skill set to compete with everyone.
"We've just got to play that fearless brand; back your ability and show what you can do."
Australian Associated Press