PRE-SEASONS are never easy, but they're tougher when you're working 14-hour night shifts as a paramedic before rocking up to footy training the next day.
Not that Adelaide winger Sophie Li is complaining – she's happy to do whatever it takes to juggle work and football.
While she's been able to take some time off work during the AFLW season, Li had little time to spare when aiming to make a first impression at her new club.
Li's roster consists of two 10-hour day shifts and two 14-hour night shifts, making the one-hour drive from Adelaide's western suburbs to Murray Bridge before clocking on at 6pm and going all the way through until 8am.
She's the first to acknowledge many of her teammates are in similar situations.
"My roster is much easier than some others – Dayna Cox is a cop, Jess Foley is a doctor, Deni Varnhagen is a nurse. They've got it a lot tougher than I do," Li told womens.afl.
"You've got to really manage your fatigue.
"Work's been really good and flexible, but it's hard, coming to training after a night shift or trying to work full-time around that."
Li is in her first season at the Crows having played with Carlton last year.
She re-signed with the Blues for 2019 but was released on compassionate grounds – the Blues received pick 42 as compensation, which they used on defender Jessica Edwards – when she couldn't take any more unpaid leave with the South Australian Ambulance Service and returned to Adelaide.
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The Crows were keen to bring Li on board and the 30-year-old has repaid their faith, playing every game this season.
"It's been really great," Li said.
"The professionalism, the camaraderie of the girls, it's fantastic.
"It sounds corny, but it really does feel like a family."
Li is on the cusp of playing in a preliminary final, with the Crows leading Conference A ahead of their last home and away game against Melbourne at Casey Fields on Saturday.
But she knows it won't be easy after the Crows were pushed all the way by Greater Western Sydney last weekend before running over the top of a depleted Giants in the last quarter.
"It's really nice to win, but every game is a challenge," she said.
"There are no easy wins, no matter who you play.
"It's nice to win, but you have to keep pushing."