Later this week Rikka Lamb-Lane will depart for New Zealand to play sport at the highest level for the second time in two years.
Last year it was netball and this time round the local athlete will be going to represent the Australian under-21s Indigenous Oztag side at the Oceania Cup.
It caps a rapid rise in the sport for Lamb-Lane, who had hardly played the sport seriously before linking up with Dubbo CYMS in the 2016 Group 11 League Tag competition.
“I played a lot of netball and last year went over to New Zealand and played in an international carnival but in the next few years I’m hoping to take on more football and give netball a bit of a break,” she said, before speaking about the chance to play for her country.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet but once I fly out on Thursday then I’ll start to feel it all.”
While the feeling hasn’t sunk in for the talented ball-runner, those at CYMS and who saw her play this season are not stunned by her selection.
Lamb-Lane was a standout for the Fishies all season and starred for her side in the grand final, which CYMS lost to Parkes.
Her stunning form coincided with her selection in the Indigenous under-21s side early in the year, and Lamb-Lane said ever since then she’s been training regularly while also paying close attention to nutrition and her fitness.
The trials were held in April and shortly after Lamb-Lane was informed of her selection, much to her delight, and since then she has returned to Sydney to attend training camps.
The Group 11 gun is one of only a few country-based players in the national side and while the standard has been a big step up, it hasn’t been too much for Lamb-Lane.
“Playing here all year with CYMS in the G11 competition, it’s totally different competition down there. It’s a lot faster but the trials were good and it all worked out well,” she said.
“I was pretty happy with the results and everything that’s panned out.”
While Lamb-Lane was selected in the under-21s, the side will be taking part on the open division of the Oceania Cup, which runs for three days from Friday.
This means the local young gun will not only be taking on players her own age, but some who have been playing the sport for far longer than she has.
“It will be harder playing there then it will be here,” she said.
“There is a lot of talented players out there but I’m just looking forward to the experience and also picking up some skills that I can bring back here.
“21s compete in opens so we’ll play a lot of experienced adults and it will be good to see some of the talent there and have the whole experience.”