WESTMEADOWS forward Danielle Linton has kicked off her first year of football with a bang, kicking 24 goals from 11 games to date.
But the 30-year-old just has one regret - not taking up the game earlier.
As a young girl, Linton was well aware that the opportunities in female football were limited and she wishes that this wasn’t the case.
“Ten or 20 years ago, football wasn’t really a thing so that’s what led me down the basketball path,” Linton told essendondfl.com.au.
“But if I was a little girl, I’d be jumping to bits, especially with the AFLW and everything else.”
From Under 11s, she was shooting hoops for 20 years and ended her career with over 200 Big V games to her name.
But now her true love is football, and she is keen to see where it takes her.
“I wish I had of done (football) years ago, like really had a look at trying to get in, because I’m having the best fun,” Linton said.
“It’s unbelievable, and it’s good being around a footy culture, too.”
The footy culture at Westmeadows is a reason why Linton has discovered a passion for the sport.
She believes the Tigers’ welcoming attitude to their new EDFL Women’s team has been fantastic.
“We’re just part of the furniture now,” Linton said.
“Even though we’re the new kids off the block, everyone gets around us.
“Westy’s fantastic like everyone knows each other, everyone says hi, they don’t care where you’re from or who you are, they just open doors and let you in, which is good.”
Linton is also playing cricket for Westmeadows and is enjoying playing among some teammates, including her sister, Nat at the football club.
“It’s very interesting because we played cricket together so even growing up, there was always a little bit of rivalry and pettiness because she was a basketballer too so growing up with her, we always tried to compete against each other,” Linton said.
“We’re only a few years apart but it’s good that we’re finally doing something together, also because my dad was a footballer and a cricketer.
“So to tick off the bucket list cricket, and now we’re ticking off the bucket list football, and letting him watch us play a sport that he’s played and loved.”
The Westmeadows EDFL Women’s side includes its U11 girls side in many of its match-day activities in order to make them feel a part of the camaraderie at Willowbrook Reserve.
Linton spearheaded this initiative and is passionate about allowing these girls to follow their sporting dreams.
“Anything is possible,” she said.
“If you have a dream, you’ve got to go for it.
“If this was around, I would’ve made sure that I’d play footy and got as far as I could.
“But just go out there, have a go and nothing’s impossible being a female anymore.
“No limitations now, us being females, we can play footy, we can do other sports which 10 to 15 years ago, we possibly couldn’t because we didn’t have the opportunity to.
“But I’ll just say if it’s yours, if you want it, go for it.”