Just a few games into the 2021 National Premier League season, Albany’s Laura Hunt was told she needed to step up for Subiaco Association Football Club if she wanted to last in the league. Fast forward to the end of the season and Hunt is now Subiaco’s best and fairest, and players’ player for 2021 in her first season. The 23-year-old’s stellar season was recognised at Subiaco’s awards night on October 16. Hunt moved to Perth at the end of last year to pursue her dream of playing high-level soccer. “I was sat down after the first few games and explained I’d need to step up if I wanted to last in this league,” she said. “It was a bit of a shock but to play at this level, especially against Perth Glory players and girls who play for Australia, you’ve got to be ready to commit and step up. “It’s very different to what I have played previously, it’s awesome though. I’ve always loved to watch the intense games on the TV, and to be playing them is an unreal feeling. “I absolutely loved my first season of NPL — the intensity that the league offered was amazing. It was just a whole new ball game that I was ready to step up to and conquer.” To add to Hunt’s impressive year, she was carrying injuries that were more serious than she realised. “Throughout the season I struggled with severe shin splints and was strapped most games, only to find out the whole season I’d played with fractured legs. “They are slowing recovering at the moment,” she said. Hunt started playing soccer when she was seven and has developed into one of the region’s brightest stars, rising through junior ranks and playing premier league at a young age. But her dream was always to play in the NPL — one that came true this season, as she played all 18 games and scored four goals. “There’s a completely different adrenaline rush you get when stepping on to the pitch up here, knowing anyone could be watching your game,” she said. “It’s still a bit surreal to win these awards, I didn’t expect it at all because I’m playing with some amazing players. “But I think receiving this has also made me more determined to better it next season and kind of play more of a leadership role.” Hunt said scoring her first NPL goal against Curtin was a highlight of her season along with meeting her best mate and playing with girls who had the same passion for soccer as she did.