HER selection in this year’s Australian Schoolgirls side may have been finally secured with one, dominant display.
But Monaro Panthers striker Brittany Palombi’s path to the green and gold has been far longer in the making.
Palombi’s selection in the Australian side, which will tour the United Kingdom next year, came after a standout performance at last weekend’s under-19s national championships in Canberra.
The 17-year-old finished as the tournament’s golden boot winner but it was her stunning five-goal haul in the ACT’s last match of the competition against South Australia that booked her ticket to Europe.
Incredibly, Palombi’s starring turn came in what was her final chance to impress Australian selectors after four years of effort.
The Radford College student has turned out for the ACT Schoolgirls side for the past four years, twice watching on as sister Ashleigh earned selection in the Australian side.
“I’ve [represented the ACT] every year for the last four years and making the Australian side is one of those things I’ve always dreamed of,” Palombi said.
“My sister’s made the side twice before so that was definitely my aim but I didn’t think it would actually happen for me. This was my last year that I was eligible for it so it was really exciting when I got picked.”
Palombi was one of two Monaro players to earn Australian selection with Panthers defender Sam Ossato picked in the Australian Schoolboys side.
Ossato was part of an ACT outfit that broke a 12-year championship drought at last weekend’s tournament to take out the Schoolboys title for the first time since 2001.
Monaro coach Njegosh Popovich, who was in charge of the Schoolboys side for the second straight year, said Ossato had done well to secure selection despite battling calf and hamstring concerns.
“Sam was quite limited by injury so he probably only played 50 per cent of the tournament but when he did play he was outstanding,” Popovich said.
Monaro juniors Nikolas Popovich and Nathan Tidmarsh were also named in the Australian side while the Panthers’ Sam La Vella was included in the shadow squad.