IF THE NAB AFLW competition has taught us anything, it's there are many ways to make it to the top level.
Ashanti Bush is taking one less travelled.
The soon-to-be 19-year-old hails from Beswick, or Wugularr, a small community about 120km south-east of Katherine, and sits on the Waterhouse River.
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Softly spoken off the field, Bush is a dynamic forward who can turn a game in an instant.
She appears to play taller than her height of 172cm, and has a deceptively quick running style, seeming to glide away from opponents when streaming towards goal.
A member of the NAB AFLW Academy, Bush's grandfather's cousin is former West Coast hero David Wirrapanda, while Geelong forward Stephanie Williams is also a relative.
Given Gold Coast's alliance with the Northern Territory, Bush has nominated Queensland in the NAB AFLW Draft, and she already has a connection with Cameron Joyce, who was an assistant with the Allies at this year's NAB AFLW Under-19 Championships.
>> Watch the 2021 NAB AFLW Draft LIVE via womens.afl and the AFLW Official App on Tuesday, July 27 from 6.45pm AEST
"I started playing when I was 15. I played netball before footy, but saw my family do it, and I wanted to follow them," Bush told womens.afl.
"The first club I played for was Wanderers, and then Darwin.
"Running's my favourite part of football."
Bush has also played local footy with the Arnhem Crows, named best on ground in the Crows' thumping 72-point premiership win over Katherine South in the Big Rivers league.
"We didn't expect we were going to win the Grand Final, because it was our first year in the comp," was the humble Bush's reaction.
The multi-talented athlete also plays rugby in Darwin, but knocked back an invitation to join the NT Titans in a representative tournament on the Gold Coast.
"They're both fun sports to play, but I chose footy because since I was little, I wanted to be a footballer," she said.
Bush played two games with VFLW side Hawthorn this year, kicking 1.2 against Darebin and 2.1 against Williamstown a fortnight later.
"It's different than Darwin training, it's harder. Everyone's just really good at footy," she said.
"I haven't been by myself, Dominique Carbone's also from Darwin and she's been playing too."
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A Collingwood fan, Bush said she loves watching footy, nominating players from a variety of positions as her favourites, including Steele Sidebottom, Brodie Grundy, Jamie Elliott and Britt Bonnici.
Away from footy, Bush likes reading, fishing and hunting for the likes of kangaroos with family.
"I need to focus on keeping my fitness up, but I want to be drafted and play AFLW," she said.