AN invitation to test alongside top football prospects around the country has given Isabella Simmons confidence she is on track with her training and development.
Simmons was one of 82 players invited to an AFLW National combine, alongside fellow Wimmera footballer Maggie Caris.
There is no confirmed date for the Victorian combine, as the AFL navigates the state's COVID-19 restrictions.
The invite is another stepping stone for Simmons who was selected for the AFL Women's Academy squad in both 2019 and 2020.
Despite that selection, Simmons said she was still surprised that she was able to secure an invite to the combine.
"The invite gives me a huge confidence boost and certainly makes me more motivated," she said.
"I was told players might not get invited if we've already played in competitions like the academy because of the year 2020 has turned into.
"There are some players who haven't had the opportunity to get their game out there because the season was cancelled this year so I'm really grateful for the opportunity.
"It is a nice feeling to be recognised for my hard work."
Simmons said she would take the opportunity with both hands and ensure she performs at her best, not only for herself but also for those who missed out.
"I don't want to the girls who have missed out to think I haven't given it all," she said.
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"I'm going to go into the testing and do the best to my ability."
After a year of cancelled seasons across the region, Simmons said she was just looking forward to getting back out onto the field.
"My training has now changed to focus on some of the testings that could occur at the combine," she said.
"My main focus is the combine. I am still doing some skills training but I am putting more of my time into training for the combine so I give myself the best opportunity when it comes to the draft.
"We've only been told a few of the tests that will be done. It's kind of like year 12 exams - there are some ideas of what has been done in the past but every year is different."
Simmons started her football career at Stawell before moving to the Ararat Storm to play in the youth girls league and has been a feature in the Rebels junior sides.
Simmons is studying year 12 at Stawell Secondary College - a year which has allowed her to be at home due to remote learning.
"It's been a crazy year, especially being in Victoria," she said.
"I'm balancing training with studying so I have a few plans in pace. Depending on football, but I hope I can get into university but of course I would love the opportunity to be drafted to a club.
"I'm not looking too far ahead with how much things have changed and just taking it a week or two at a time."
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