After a winter away from the one thing she loves, Emma Humphries is ready for her fourth season at the top.
Unlike many of her peers, the Wynyard product, the first AFLW players drafted out of Tasmania back in 2016, was sidelined when the weather was colder, stuck in recovery mode after a post-season shoulder operation.
After admitting to some doubts that being unable to play VFLW or TSLW would hurt her chances of winning her way back into the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos' team, the 25-year-old says she is now mentally and physically recharged.
The prospect of a different on-field role as well as a stronger shoulder has her excited, with coach Scott Gowans set to use her in the forward line, both as a crumbing forward and higher up, as well on a wing, a change from her previous role as a half-back/winger.
"Through a wing is still something that is comfortable for me, and I know that role back to front, but being a small forward, that is pretty exciting for me,'' she told The Advocate.
"I haven't had much exposure to the forward line (at any level), but I know it is important to have that secondary role so you are not shooting yourself in the foot where you only have one position, which I have always done (had two roles), but it is changing it up this year."
While she deliberately avoided watching any VFLW or TSLW, as seeing what she was missing out on was just that bit too hard for her, watching the game at the more relaxed nature of grassroots level at Wynyard helped her get through.
"Taking up the role with the NAB League girls gives you a different perspective on the game, and you do learn a couple of things that you wouldn't as a player, and you see the game (playing) as a coach as well,'' he said.
She will juggle that role with the help of her coaching team this AFLW season, an extra element to her year she said she was looking forward to, and said she had just the one simple aim for herself.
"I just want to play good footy, as I've missed so much of it, I simply just want to get back out on the field,'' she said.
Having finished her past two AFLW campaigns (one at Melbourne and the other at North) outside the senior team, she said she would be determined not to give up her spot once given the opportunity.
Humphries, along with the other Tasmanian based Kangaroos, now calls Hobart home, and said being all in the one place had been beneficial as the "standard really has lifted" for the group with their training base now down South.
Humphries will get her first taste of life as a forward in North's match simulation against Collingwood at Arden Street on Saturday, with a practice match scheduled the following Saturday at Ikon Park against Carlton.
North will play GWS at Launceston's UTAS Stadium on February 15 and reigning premier Adelaide at North Hobart Oval on March 7.
It will start its season against Humphries' former side Melbourne on February 8 at Casey Fields.
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