When Emily Gielnik first dreamt of shooting into the net for Australia the aim was to do so as a finger-rolling, jumper-hitting Opal, but after some amendments to the plan the 19-year-old Brisbane girl has now dribbled her way across codes and within range of national selection as a Matilda.
When Emily Gielnik first dreamt of shooting into the net for Australia the aim was to do so as a finger-rolling, jumper-hitting Opal, but after some amendments to the plan the 19-year-old Brisbane girl has now dribbled her way across codes and within range of national selection as a Westfield Matilda.
In 2010-11, Gielnik cracked the Brisbane Roar squad, helped them win the Westfield W-League championship from fierce rivals Sydney FC and then had her brilliant season culminate with a tour of Vietnam in national colours representing the Matildas U20s.
After such a breakout season, the Redlands United product has plans for an even bigger year in 2011-12, filling her scope with juicy targets, such as defending the Westfield W-League title and earning a place in the Matildas squad by the end of the year.
"I made the state team in my first year at (Redlands United) and then that was it. I just kept going from then," said Gielnik.
"I didn't make it to the Queensland Academy of Sports football squad until 2009, so I was a very late comer compared to a lot of the other girls who have been here for five to 10 years."
"But I've just had my first International tour with the Young Matildas ... I'd have to have a terrific W-League season, but I'm hoping to make the Matildas squad at the end of the year. That's my number one aim this season."
With quality in the attacking ranks of Australian women's football, Gielnik will need to be consistently excellent to crack the setup, but her mean showing in Brisbane's narrow 3-2 loss to Newcastle in their first home game of the season suggests she has the form and flair to make the cut.
The story of the day was the two late penalties former Roar striker Lisa De Vanna converted to hand the Jets an unlikely victory.
But if it was an unhappy day for the Roar collective, it could have been mixed emotions for Gielnik, who was ultra-impressive in her return to her junior football stomping ground, powering in Brisbane's second goal with a sharp long-range blast from an acute angle.
"It was a sweet strike. I was fortunate to put that away on my home turf, so I'm even more stoked about that. I'm pretty happy about that," she said.
"I have a lot of family and friends here. I went to school across the road here and played at this very club since I was 12."
"I've basically lived and breathed here for the last 10 years. It means a lot to me."
"It was good to put one in the back of the net, but at the end of the day, we're after wins, so it was a really disappointing finish."
"I definitely felt we deserved the win. We had everything going for us ... it felt like they got really lucky."
The Roar were beaten just once all last season, and Gielnik was full of frustration in voicing her side's disappointment at having dropped the chance to improve on that record in 2011-12.
"Sydney was the team to beat this year and Newcastle had a good team on paper, and considering they came out and beat us third round in is obviously not good enough," said Gielnik.
"We were looking to go for an undefeated season this year ... we're still on one point three rounds in - with one bye - but realistically, it's not good enough."
Brisbane may not have the points on the ladder three weeks into their season, but the on-field attitude and commitment to success remains unwavering.
Don't bet on the Roar giving up their championship easily. Do bet on Emily Gielnik scoring a few more highlight-reel goals this season.