Bec Goddard knew she had so much more to give after she was forced to leave her post at the Adelaide Crows, she just wasn't sure where she could.
Enter the Canberra Demons, the underdogs that have stunned the NEAFL and reignited her love of the game.
Goddard has played an integral role in Kade Klemke's Demons coaching staff as an assistant this season ahead of their preliminary final showdown against the Sydney Swans at Blacktown International Sportspark on Saturday.
Her input has been vital for a Canberra outfit that has shocked all comers, and she is determined to turn her passion into her life.
Goddard had to use recreational and long-service leave from the Australian Federal Police to coach the Crows in the fledgling competition's first two seasons, with AFLW head of football Nicole Livingstone conceding "the economic environment of AFLW" would need to change to keep her in the league which now boasts 10 male coaches across 10 teams.
It left the competition's first premiership coach, whose cult status grew thanks to her team-coloured fingernails and the inspirational notes she gave her players, feeling hollow.
"I left Adelaide and I was a bit sad to be leaving football, and I didn’t quite know what was going to happen," Goddard said.
"When I got back to the Canberra Demons, to be enjoying it so much, the boys have really reinvigorated my love for the game.
"It was probably more that I was disappointed I couldn’t stay in Adelaide to do the thing I loved.
"Having the opportunity to come to the Demons, in a semi-professional environment, and just coach with freedom and without expectation that I was feeling at the end of season two of the AFLW, has been really great.
"It’s a passion. In the AFLW space I’ve only coached 15 games, so that’s not a retirement age I don’t think. I want to keep working and see how far I can go."
Goddard held assistant coaching roles in the NEAFL with the Queanbeyan Tigers - under Klemke - and Ainslie before she led the Crows to an historic AFLW title in 2017.
She has played a key role in Canberra's rise from easybeats to premiership contenders, but that's not enough. Goddard says "we haven't come this far to come this far", and Klemke is the perfect mentor to turn a good group into a great group.
Goddard can best sum up Klemke with a little help from Napoleon Bonaparte: "a leader is a dealer in hope".
"He’s the dealer in hope. That’s what a leader is, and that’s what Kade is. He deals with his group with hope, he gives the boys hope each week and it is quite infectious," Goddard said.
"Kade and I have learnt so much more as the years have gone on. We’ve got a great relationship, we can speak openly and honestly. The biggest thing about Kade is his leadership."
Goddard, AFL Canberra's women's coach of the decade, has already seen women's football come on in leaps and bounds. She will be on hand to watch the next chapter of history in the AFL Canberra first grade women's decider between the Eastlake Demons and Queanbeyan at Manuka Oval on Sunday.
Now the women's first grade clash will be played at 6pm at Manuka Oval on Sunday - the final instalment in a bumper line up of on grand final day.
"Terrific that it’s at 6pm at Manuka on Sunday," Goddard said.
"What a great place to showcase women’s football in Canberra by AFL Canberra. This is terrific, and what leadership by AFL Canberra to do this, that is great."
NEAFL PRELIMINARY FINAL
Saturday: Sydney Swans v Canberra Demons at Blacktown International Sportspark, 12pm. Live stream on NEAFL TV.