Ruby Sargent-Wilson hopes a move to Bond University on the prestigious Riewoldt AFL Excellence Scholarship will help her achieve her AFLW dream.
The talented Bachelor of Sport Management student has been part of the GWS Giants training group and has even travelled with the team as an emergency player, but is yet to make her official debut.
Being on the cusp of selection has only increased her motivation.
“Ultimately I want to play AFLW. I have had a taste and I’ve been quite close to playing,” Sargent-Wilson said.
“I was disappointed not to be drafted last year. I took it in my stride and it’s really motivated me to play.
“I was privileged to train on with the GWS Giants team. It has been an amazing experience.
“I know I’m in the mix and if I keep working hard it will hopefully pay off. It has made me even more determined to get there.”
Sargent-Wilson represented NSW in touch football, netball and AFL in the same year, but the native game quickly took priority over all others.
Her meteoric rise took everybody by surprise.
Sargent-Wilson went from having never played the game, to being voted best player at the School Sports Australia Championship in just her fifth match.
“I’d never played a game of AFL before and I ended up playing All Schools for NSW,” she said.
“I represented NSW in three sports that year: touch, netball and AFL. I was selected in the All Australian team and was selected player of the tournament.
“I was very humbled by that. My love for AFL has grown from that.”
The 18-year-old has moved from Wollongong to the Gold Coast to study while she plays with the Bull Sharks.
“I was emotional when I got the scholarship and my parents were super proud and so supportive of me being here,” she said.
“Coming into the club, it is so professional, it’s like being at a talent camp, not just a club. There is such a strong set of values that everyone understands.
“We are a young group but the girls are so talented, the facilities are amazing.
“The environment here feels the right place and the right direction. I know I have the support of the coaches.
“It really attracted me to coming here, that the Bull Sharks are at that level and have had so many successful athletes, not only in AFL, but in sport in general.”
Fifteen players from Bond University’s program have gone on to play AFLW.