Demons forward willing to go the distance

AFTER a brief break, Shelley Scott is once again the dairy farmer from Colac.

In the first two seasons of the NAB AFLW competition, commentators quickly latched onto the Melbourne forward's background, so much so it became almost part of her name.

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"Shelley Scott – the dairy farmer from Colac – takes a mark on the wing, wheels around and pumps the ball long," was a familiar refrain.

The 31-year-old moved up to Melbourne for the 2019 season, but is now back on the farm.

And aside from the lengthy drives to training, she's loving it.

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"It's a little bit of travel, but I found in Melbourne I could be sitting in traffic for 40 minutes anyway, so at least when you're in the country, you can drive for an hour and actually get somewhere," Scott told womens.afl.

"It's been good, I enjoy being back on the farm. Animals bring a lot of joy to my life, so it's good having them again.

"It's a two-hour trip, then if I hit traffic coming off the West Gate Bridge, or congestion towards the Burnley Tunnel, it could be two-and-a-half. Sometimes three if I'm unlucky."

After a pre-season and four matches, how are Scott's energy levels with that level of travel?

"They're pretty good. I stay up in Melbourne sometimes, I've got a couple of sisters up there, so I'm able to crash there sometimes," Scott said.

"If we've got a Friday night game, I'll stay up there on a Thursday night, have the Friday to myself and prepare for the game. It's worked out quite well in that sense.

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"I'm in a much better mindset this year, and being on the farm has probably helped. I'm looking at footy in a better perspective, so the challenges you face don't seem as large when you have a good mindset.

"Without going too much into it, [off-field there was] just a lot of change, which brought a lot of uncertainty. I questioned myself a lot, and I questioned my decisions, and that came through in football as well."

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Melbourne has just fallen short of making finals in all three previous seasons, finishing outside a Grand Final berth by percentage in 2017 and 2018. Last year, the Demons' wins would have seen them qualify for finals if they were in Conference B, but they fell short in their own Conference A.

Unexpected losses to lower-ranked sides in all three seasons haven't helped Melbourne's cause. It makes this Sunday's game against West Coast – last in Conference B – more of a danger game than it should be for the second-placed Dees.

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"It's definitely something that's in the back of your mind," Scott admits.

"But at the same time, the way we've prepared right through from pre-season, I can't help but feel we're a different-looking team, we're a lot stronger and I think we're a lot better from having made those mistakes.

"It's still up to us to take those opportunities when they come. I feel like we're in a really good space as a group to take those opportunities, but I try not to think too much about those past years.

"It should really fuel us forward. We're good enough to play among the best, but we have to be consistent to do that."