SCORING goals - it's a job that Olivia Johnston has long been tasked with when playing sport on a weekend, but this year she's giving new meaning to the term 'goal attack'.
A talented netballer who won a Bathurst A grade title with Bulldogs and was named the 2018 most valuable under 20s player for the Panthers in the Netball NSW Premier League, Johnston revelled as a goal attack.
But now, in her third season playing in the AFL Central West's women's competition, Johnston is shining at full forward for the Bathurst Giants.
She's once again attacking the goal and heading into the June long weekend general bye, Johnston had booted more majors than any other female player.
Her tally stands at 17, placing her ahead of team-mates Elise Gullifer (15) and Hailee Taylor (13) as well as Dubbo star Emily Warner (13).
"Elise had been carrying us for quite awhile and unfortunately she missed a game, so that was probably the upper hand that I got," Johnston laughed.
"It's nice for all three of us Giants to be up the top."
Standing at just under six-foot, Johnston's height has long made her an imposing figure inside the 50.
But now all the hard work she has put into her kicking technique, in particular working with assistant coach Mick Sloan, is seeing her better able to capitalise on that for the Giants.
"I came from a netball background and it took awhile to get used to it, but it is very similar to my old position, I was a goal attack for netball," she said.
"It was a lot of getting used to switching between the two codes, but I think I've got the hang of it now and it's a lot of fun. My first training session I was kind of going 'Well I've played netball my whole life, I've never had to use my feet, so I'm not really sure what to do'.
"A lot of props go out to Mick, he did a lot of technique training with me which really shaped my kick and now he can fix my kick if I get into a bad habit of the ball curving a bit when I drop it.
"One thing he said is just tighten your bicep when you drop the ball and it goes back to perfect, he knows what to tell me to do so I get back on track."
Having an in-form tall forward is a huge plus for the Giants, but the way Johnston works with small forwards Gullifer and Taylor as well as half-back line talent Tamara Thompson is paying dividends too.
It means the Giants' rivals have to do more than just try and stop Johnston.
"We've got T, Elise and Hailee who are all much, much shorter than me, so the ball comes to me and if I don't catch it, they act as crumbers and get the ball that's on the ground," Johnston said.
"So my height works really well for the first instance and if that doesn't work we've got the three little ones to try and grab it again. It's definitely an advantage for us, especially as not a lot of our opponents haver tall back lines."
As well as having made huge improvements in the technical aspects of Australian rules, the way Johnston works inside 50 has also changed.
Now she has the confidence to lead for her team-mates and attack the Sherrin rather than sitting back inside 50 and hoping the ball finds her.
Her best haul has been a bag of seven majors against the Orange Tigers in round six.
"For the three years I've been playing, Mick and Liz [Kennedy, coach] have really been urging me to be a leading full forward, so leading out to high ball and because I'm so much taller than everyone else, I'm able to grab a mark," Johnston said.
"So they've been getting that in my mind and it's just really clicked this season. We've been working a lot on that at training, our midfielders have been working a lot on kicking in to me in the full forward line, kicking a high ball, so it's been a group effort."
While Johnston admits it would be nice to remain on top of the leading goal scorer count for the rest of the season, for her it's more about enjoying the sport and the team environment.
"It would definitely be a lovely title to hold, but I'm definitely not in it for that, I play for fun and the girls are such a great team," she said.
Johnston is not the only Bathurst player who has been impressive inside 50 so far this season either.
In the league's senior men's tier one competition, Bathurst Bushranger Nathan Smith is the clear leader of the goal kicking stakes with 34 majors thus far.
Dubbo's Joe Hedger ranks second with 16, followed by Bushranger Hugh Templeton and fellow Demon Isaac Heath on 14 each.
In the senior men's tier two competition Cowra's Caleb Worth and Parkes talent Alex Boyd top the count with 11 goals apiece, but Bathurst Bushranger Jordan Price is close behind on 10.
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