GISBORNE star Maddy Stewart says she is honoured to lead the BFNL representative team into inter-league battle at the Queen Elizabeth Oval on Saturday.
The reigning league best and fairest has been chosen as captain of a talent-laden BFNL team, which will clash with Outer East.
She will be backed by star Sandhurst midcourter Meg Williams, who has been named as vice-captain.
The clash against Outer East marks a return to inter-league ranks for Stewart, who has been unavailable in recent seasons due to Victorian Netball League and other commitments.
"I've been pretty full on with netball the last few years so it's exciting to get the chance to play (for the BFNL) this year," she said.
"It's a strong team to be captaining and really flexible. It's important to have that flexibility with players who can play a lot of positions.
"We have a lot of depth as well, which will be important heading into Saturday. I don't envy (coach Jayden Cowling's) job in picking a side."
Stewart has had little time to reflect on her appointment as captain, but said she was nevertheless proud to be leading such a talented team.
She was full of praise for her vice-captain Williams, who was best on court in last season's grand final between the two players' respective teams, wonm by Sandhurst in overtime.
"Meg is amazing, she is such an awesome player, but also such a great person and such a good role model," Stewart said.
"She is only young, but has awesome leadership skills. It will be an exciting day for her too."
Stewart, the 2018 Betty Thompson Medal winner and twice a runner-up, has continued her brilliant play into the new season with Gisborne, which sits second on the ladder with a 4-0 record behind only reigning premiers Sandhurst (5-0).
That solid form has seen her rewarded with a spot in the Tasmanian Magpies' team in the early part of the Australian Netball League season.
"Collingwood has had a couple of injuries to its Suncorp (Super Netball) team, so a few of the ANL girls have filled those spots, and there has been a few injuries within the ANL team as well, so I got the call up," she said.
"I have been training with them for a little while, but have been lucky enough to be chosen in the team the first couple of weeks and get some good game time."
An exciting weekend for Stewart kicks off today with her graduation from her occupational therapy degree at Lat Trobe University Bundoora.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.