MACKAY'S Gayle Williams is so proud of her daughter Sharni, who will lead the Australian women's rugby union sevens team in London and Holland this week - but it all could have been so different.
"I didn't want her to play rugby, she was so little," said mum Gayle.
"But she always said she would wear the green and gold, ever since she was eight years old."
So hockey it had to be for 25-year-old Williams, who grew up in the small town of Batlow, NSW where there are more apples than people, and no rugby competition.
A move to Canberra for better work opportunities landed her a job as an apprentice mechanic.
It was the catalyst for Williams to play rugby; who then made her Australian Wallaroos debut in 2008 and was recruited as a sevens player in 2010.
"I always wanted to play rugby league when I was little," said Williams, from London.
"And my mum wouldn't let me; she always said hockey was rough enough for me, so when I was old enough to make my own choices and at 20 I decided to play rugby."
Williams dreamt of representing her country at the Olympics, and with sevens rugby included in the 2016 games she feels she is on track to fulfilment and can focus now on the bid for Olympic glory.
"My childhood dream was, and still is, to make the Olympics," she said.
"As a kid I thought it was a long shot but I had my family to support me all the way.
"Once I started making high level school sporting events, I guess mum and dad started to believe and would drive me here, there and everywhere.
"Being named captain is a huge honour, but nothing beats being captain for your country, the pride, the passion, the hard work, the smile; it's an exciting time for me and an exciting time for the team."
Mum Gayle said she will get up and watch every game live on the web.
"She's very special."
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.