Jada Whyman could have been preparing for one of the biggest games of her career had bad luck not intervened.
Instead, the injured Wanderers goalkeeper will be a spectator watching from the stands as the Red & Black take on Melbourne City in a historic Westfield W-League semi-final at ABD Park on Sunday.
Despite the disappointment of not being part of the team’s first foray into Finals football, Whyman remains ever-smiling, ever-upbeat and just as determined to play a part off the field.
Certainly, there’s no hint of “what ifs” or feeling sorry for herself.
“Just being around the girls is better than anything to be honest,” said Whyman.
“They are a great bunch of girls and I can’t wait to be part of the history they have made.
“I have to admit I am not too bad in the stands. I am maybe a bit loud but I am a lot better than (goalkeeper) Abby (Smith)!
“It’s been great (being around the squad). They are ecstatic they have made the finals.
“It’s great for the club and everyone is behind us and that’s the best part about it. I think the girls are more excited they have done it, they set the goal at the start of the season and they have achieved it.”
It’s been a tough road to recovery for Whyman, who was set to be the no. 1 until she suffered a season-ending knee injury a month before the season kicked off.
The 20-year-old had been looking forward to a solid season as well as pushing for more representative honours.
Whyman played six games last season after a break-out season the year before when she played all 12 games for the club.
“It’s been tough as my season never got off the ground, but the recovery has been good,” said the Australian under 20s representative.
“It’s going slowly but it has been great to have the facility here to help me with my progress.
“Injuries are never a smooth road, it’s a very lonely road but to have these facilities where we are among the men’s team, the women’s team, the NYL, we are one big club and that’s the best part.
“The fact you see everyone every day you come in so it doesn’t make it feel like such a lonely road.”
As a result of her injury the club signed Smith to bolster their depth.
Smith has been an outstanding addition to the club, producing some solid performances.
According to Whyman the American’s presence has been a huge help to her own development, even if she hasn’t been able to get on to the field.
“It’s been great having Abby here, it’s been a blessing in disguise after I had done my injury because she had a similar injury,” said Whyman.
“It was great to have her insight on the whole thing."