THAT Amy Morrissey will play her 150th game for South Bendigo this weekend will come as no great shock to her beloved club-mates and team-mates.
After all, the 26-year-old has been a permanent fixture at South since her mid-teens.
But given her playing history, the game in which she will celebrate the milestone has come with a bit of surprise.
Morrissey has been a permanent and reliable - some would say a linchpin - member of the Bloods' A-reserve team since her graduation from the 17-and-under ranks and is their reigning best and fairest.
But in 2022, and with the Bloods line-up at its strongest at any time over the last two decades, Morrissey finds herself as a crucial component in the A-grade defence.
In the words of her coach, two-time BFNL premiership leader Jannelle Hobbs, it's a testament to her hard work and development.
Morrissey, who has made A-grade appearances before and will reach the milestone in a crucial clash against rival top-three aspirant Gisborne, is relishing the added pressure and responsibility that comes with playing in the top grade of BFNL netball.
"It's definitely a step up, especially amongst the likes of Kangaroo Flat and Sandhurst, they are just that extra level, and have such really strong girls," she said.
"We've obviously got VNL players as well.
"But stepping up has been great; we have a strong team this year, really competitive, so I'm excited to see where it leads.
"Hopefully, a bit further up the ladder."
Typifying her selfless nature, be it A-grade or A-reserve, Morrissey is just happy for the opportunity to don the red and white uniform each weekend.
"I loved playing A-res, just because I have got such good friends in the team," she said.
"I love playing, but netball's more about the friendships for me.
"Sarah Nash had her 150th game for the club a few weeks ago and she is one of my best friends and we met through South.
"My biggest testament to South is definitely the relationships and friendships built, as well as just playing.
"It's such an inclusive club. No girl comes to South and says it's cliquey, so I couldn't speak more highly of the club and the standard of relationships built through it.
"It's why I have hung around so long."
My biggest testament to South is definitely the relationships and friendships built, as well as just playing.- Amy Morrissey
On the court, an early-season injury to gun recruit and six-time A-grade premiership defender Alicia McGlashan has forced a rejig of the Bloods' defence.
For Morrissey that has meant a switch from wing defence to deeper in the defensive circle and a potential return to her favoured goal defence position.
"I do prefer goal defence, but that's because I've played there for I can't tell you how many years and never really played anywhere else the last few years," she said.
"I've played more wing defence and goal keeper this season, but I'm not sure what the next few weeks will bring.
"Steph Goode and I will be playing in the ring, but I'm not sure what combinations Jannelle has in store for that. She's pretty focused on what the match-ups look like."
Hobbs hopes Morrissey's 150th game milestone will provide some added motivation for the Bloods, who will be chasing their first win against Gisborne in more than a decade.
She paid credit to Morrissey for 'developing her game to another level' and firmly entrenching herself in the A-grade side.
"She has always been around the mark, but she just needed the opportunity," Hobbs said.
"Now that it has come she has taken it with both hands.
"She has really stepped up, her and Steph Goode, especially while Alicia being out.
"Its an amazing effort to play 150 games.
"She's a very loyal South person and a great person. Anything around the club you need doing she will do.
"Every club needs good people like Amy."
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