FOR REIGNING Sydney best and fairest winner Cynthia Hamilton, this year has been all about improvement.
Improving herself as both a person and footballer, improving the team's fortunes, improving her impact on New South Wales talent. And it has been to great effect, as her Swans look toward their first AFLW final on Sunday.
"I think we just knew that we had so much more to give this year, and I think we've put that out there," Hamilton told AFL.com.au.
"But there's still more to come."
After kicking three goals across nine matches in her debut season, Hamilton has found more consistency in her game this year thanks not only to her side's evolution, but her willingness to work hard not only on the track, but within herself.
"I had a temper," Hamilton said.
"I still do, it's still there … but I think the maturity level from then to now has changed drastically. Chloe (Molloy) has told me a lot of her stories about how she struggled with the same problems.
"Physically she was awesome on the field, it was that mental side of it that she struggled with, and she opened up to me a lot about how she built her confidence to be able to shut out that side of footy."
Balancing her physical talent, born from years of not only playing footy but excelling in judo, with the gears whirring in her mind has been the biggest source of growth for Hamilton this year.
"I still struggle with it … I've started to show my mature side of my footy, but there's still so much to go. I'm going to work with the psych on that because I definitely need to work on my anger and putting that into playing good footy, not angry footy," Hamilton said.
Part of the emotional side of Hamilton's game stems from playing with older sister Lexi. Being concerned if her sister is hurt, or wanting to do her proud, have been regular thoughts during games.
"We were playing a practice match and (Lexi) went down. I was the first one there," Hamilton said.
"You forget that there's that teammate and sister bond, you stress, but on this level, you need to separate that. We get worried for one another, but we also know that we're here to do our job, we still have to play to the best of our ability when the other goes down."
And on the road to Sydney's maiden finals berth, Hamilton has played all 10 games this season, kicking six goals in the process.
Working closely with new forwards coach Tanya Hetherington, the forward is thriving under her tutelage.
"I tell her all the time that I love working with her. You don't realise how lucky we are to have someone that's been so recently in the game," Hamilton said.
"It's actually like a little secret weapon."
Hamilton is part of the fifth-highest scoring team in the competition, behind Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and North Melbourne. This is after the Swans recorded the lowest average score across last home and away season.
And while the club is focused on elite level success, the growth of the game within New South Wales and Canberra, from where Hamilton hails, is also a priority. Developing local talent will ultimately benefit the Swans at the top, and it is something Hamilton is particularly passionate about.
"I'm thinking about starting up my own business doing footy clinics. Specifically, so that girls can see that it's doable," Hamilton said.
"I've always had a passion for coaching, I'm young, I've got the time … footy is not massive in Canberra and very few players make it out into the AFLW, so I want to make that more and more common, and have more players coming out of NSW and the ACT."
For now, however, the focus is on Saturday's clash with Gold Coast, and a chance to continue that improvement trajectory.