Elizabeth MacGregor admits she's got a bit of "brain fog" when she arrives at school some mornings.
Unlike some of her classmates though, she's got every reason to be feeling tired.
MacGregor is one of the most exciting young footballers in the western region and it's led her to a spot in the Sydney Roosters Indigenous Academy Tarsha Gale Cup squad.
Having long carved up the fields at home in Parkes and the wider area, the outside back showcased her pace and power to a new audience last weekend when she scored a hat-trick in the Roosters' round one win over the North Sydney Bears.
It was a special moment for the 17-year-old Red Bend College students given she's a Roosters fan, but it was also a sweet reward after all the work involved with training and playing in Sydney.
"(School) is definitely stressful. Especially missing two full days a week for training. It makes it hard," MacGregor said.
"We go down on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We drive down and back in one day so we get home at 1am in the morning and then it's school the next day.
"And we play Saturdays so we've been going down on Friday nights as well."
MacGregor is hugely thankful to her teachers for their understanding and help as she starts her final year of school, while she's also hugely indebted to her parents for their support.
Paul and Charlene MacGregor are the ones who've been driving their daughter all over as she chases her dream.
"It's definitely expensive but mum and dad help with that a lot," MacGregor said.
"I'm very grateful for them, obviously. They just drive me around the countryside and I really couldn't do it without them."
A dream debut
There were plenty of nerves for MacGregor in the lead-up to Saturday's Roosters debut.
Having been spotted by Roosters scouts while playing for Woodbridge in the Western Women's Rugby League (WWRL) and the Western Rams, MacGregor was too young for a spot in the side last year so had to do with being a development player.
She finally got her chance in the centres against the Bears and was on hand to finish three attacking raids down the Roosters' left edge.
"It felt pretty cool," MacGregor said of the hat-trick.
"We have such a great group of girls. Everyone in the team is so deserving of their spot and they all work really hard to be in the team.
"Just having girls around you that all have the same end goal for the team is very exciting."
MacGregor wasn't the lone Western junior impressing on Saturday as Georgie Barrett of Orange CYMS was pulling the strings at five-eighth.
The pair have played plenty of rep footy together and it showed against the Bears as they combined to great effect on the left edge.
"We just connect," MacGregor said.
"It makes me feel a lot more comfortable having someone that I know and we carpool up for training together and our parents share the load."
Difficult to play 'under the radar'
MacGregor and Barrett will be out for another win this Saturday when the Roosters take on the Wests Tigers.
The under 19 Tarsha Gale Cup consists of a nine-week regular season and then finals. Following the campaign, MacGregor's attention will return to the Parkes Spacecats' league tag side.
Despite missing a host of Parkes games last year due to junior representative commitments, MacGregor was still one of the competition's leading try-scorers and earned plenty of rave reviews along the way.
She was also a major part of Lachlan District's fairytale WWRL under 18s premiership win in their first season in the competition.
"Obviously it does feel good and makes you feel good that people notice but I also like to be a bit more on the down low," she laughed.
"I try to not let any of it go to my head."
The praise, along with the Roosters selection, shows MacGregor is on a bright path and, like so many other young players in the region, she can now see the NRLW as an achievable goal.
"That's definitely the end goal but there's a lot more work to do before I can get there," she said.