Much has changed in Alice Mitchell's life since Covid-19 unleashed its fury on her. But amid the tectonic shift in her existence, AFL has offered a reassuring counterbalance.
And at Wolseley Oval on Saturday, the 18-year-old debuted for the Bulldogs in a trial against the Tamworth Swans. She played centre and centre half-forward
After forming in the off-season, it was the Bulldog women's first-ever match. They won 6.3 (39) to 2.2 (14).
When the off-season resumed following the lockdown, ahead of the July 18 season launch, Mitchell lobbed at training one day.
The club quickly learned that they had lucked out: she had trained with GWS's Winter Series squad last year, in the hope of earning a spot in the AFLW draft for the 2020 season.
Stress fractures to both legs cruelled that ambition, although age is on her side and she would like to think her AFLW dream is not dead.
Mitchell relocated to Gunnedah, the hometown of her boyfriend, Will Tibbs, after they lost their jobs in Sydney due to the pandemic. She had been an AFL coach for year 7 and 8 students at Pymble Ladies' College, in Sydney, where she had graduated from in 2019.
She had also worked for a weddings and event planner in Sydney.
Fetching breakfast one morning, she saw the Bulldogs women training. "I was like, 'I kinda wanna join.'
"Because I didn't know anyone [in town], I thought it would be kind of a good way to meet new people.
"Also, I played AFL for about four years in Sydney. So it was a good opportunity to get back into it and meet heaps of people, and I've just loved it."
Mitchell is working at the Gunnedah Hotel, but hopes to break into the real estate industry.
She hails from a family of Sydney Swans tragics. She grew up watching the Swans at the SCG, and played her first game of footy at about age eight - the only girl in the Pittwater Tigers team. She lasted the one season.
"Back then there wasn't really a future for girls in AFL," she said.
In 2017, Mitchell - who is 180 centimetres - resumed playing AFL after signing with the Willoughby Mosman Swans. A ruckman, she was named the side's best and fairest that year. The following year she lined up for the Eastern Allies - a combined NSW, ACT and Tasmania under-18 side - at the nationals.
"It was a surprise for me that in my second year of AFL I made the NSW team and then made the Eastern Allies team. Playing nationals was such an eye-opening experience. From that day, I trained every single day."
Her goal was to get chosen for the AFLW draft.
But after breaking her ankle in the motorbike accident in January last year, she rushed her rehab in order to play for GWS in the Winter Series in Victoria. She was training with GWS when she sustained the stress fractures in her legs.
In 2019, she again made the Allies side but missed the nationals because of the injury.
"It was gonna be a big year. So it was a kind of massive setback for me." She continued: "I definitely don't think I'll give up on it [her AFLW dream]. I'll see how this season goes with the Bulldogs. So far I've loved training ... I feel really good getting back into it."