WHILE her name was not on the list of Australian players to contest the World Sevens Series in Dubai this week, a look at the squad still brought with it some good news for Bathurst talent Jakiya Whitfeld.
It showed that Australian coach John Manenti is willing to give teenage talents a chance to prove themselves as he looks ahead to the Tokyo Olympics.
Australia won the gold medal at the Rio Games and will be hungry to defend their Olympic crown next year. While that squad will feature returning players, Manenti has made it clear there will be new blood as well.
Rugby.com.au states that 18-year-old Whitfeld, who again impressed in the AON Uni 7s for Sydney University, is "knocking on the door in the wider squad".
She has already represented Australia, having won a Pacific Games silver medal as part of an open team earlier this year.
"You can't buy experience and you can't replace the experience that those [Rio] girls have got, but we are now in a position where we are pushing them. And I don't think they probably thought they were going to be in that position," he told rugby.com.au.
"What I have seen over the last few months is a realisation to the senior girls that these kids aren't just here to make up the numbers; that they're here to play and they want spots.
"And we are seeing it at training, we are seeing at the gym, we are seeing with their running, their repeat speeds - it is just consistent. And they're not going away.
"It makes it difficult [in selecting an Olympic team] but I want it to be difficult. I don't want to have a situation where it is easy for me to pick 10-12 players because I don't have any competition."