Australian sevens captain Sharni Williams hopes an injury-free year will be the boost she needs to chase a dream of back to back Olympic Games gold medals.
Williams and national teammate Yasmin Meakes played for the University of Canberra side at the opening round of the Australian sevens tournament in Brisbane on Saturday.
Their presence wasn't enough to get Canberra off to a winning start on a hectic opening day of the season, losing three of four games with a side largely made up of rookies.
It was the first time Williams has played for Canberra in two years after juggling Australian duties and injuries since the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Williams signed a new national contract last year to take her through to the Tokyo Games and the chance to win gold again, but the biggest confidence boost has been ending her injury woes.
The 31-year-old missed nine weeks of the world series last year after suffering a serious ankle syndesmosis problem at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
"You do start to get excited [about the Olympics] as an athlete," Williams said.
"The Commonwealth Games was the last injury I had, so I've been free for a whole year and that's really exciting.
"You've always got to have a back up plan because rugby doesn't last forever. I feel like I've got a pretty good life balance at the moment. I've got a sense of wellbeing outside of footy.
"But at the same time, there's no time limit [for a career] and that's the beauty of our sport at the moment.
"It's never been done before. I'll be prepared [whenever the end] comes."
The university sevens campaign is an important step for Australian players, who have eight world series legs as well as their Tokyo bid.
Meakes wasn't even playing rugby union when Australia won gold in Rio, but joining the Canberra sevens side launched the former touch player's career.
"It's all happened so quickly and I can't believe this is the third season," Meakes said.
"I joined rugby to make friends because I was new to Canberra. I never knew this would be my job.
"It's really scary [to think about the Olympics], I never thought I'd be in this position. It's exciting at the same time.
"Anything is possible ... I'm definitely proof that anything can come from this sevens series."
UNI SEVENS ROUND ONE
Saturday: University of WA 17 bt University of Canberra 12; UTS 22 bt University of Canberra 10; University of Canberra 19 bt University of New England 7; University of Queensland 36 bt University of Canberra 0.