Kaitlyn Ashmore has been a fixture in the AFLW landscape since playing in an exhibition game for Victoria way back in 2017. 

Through 68 games across eight NAB AFL Women's seasons, across three clubs, Ashmore has been a constant high performer and has experienced every phase of a club's development. 

But there was a time when Ashmore, a Ballarat native, didn't know what lay ahead when she packed her bags as an inaugural signing at Brisbane ahead of the first AFLW season. 

"It was really hard to think about back then because we didn't really know where it was going. It was meant to be like a 2021 start and then they pushed it to 2017. I moved to Brisbane (as a) Ballarat girl and I remember telling my mum and my brother... and he didn't really understand and mum didn't really understand either," she recalled on the latest episode of Talkin' It Up.

"But I packed up, went up there and we had to go through it together as a united group because the external noise was quite loud, and then you get people on social media - and you still have them now. 

"But it's not really about us, it's about who's coming up next. You've got dads with daughters who want to play football now because they can see us doing it, and I think that's what people really need to focus on."

Ashmore said the huge improvement in the standard of football and the depth in the playing ranks had made the challenges of the early days worthwhile. 

"Our skills are getting better, games will end up looking a lot better. They're so much better since I first started, I'll tell you that," she said.

"But I think you've just got to look at the bigger picture. We kept coming together as a group and we just kept driving what we knew and got the work done." 

Talkin' It Up is a new AFL podcast hosted by Megan Waters and Andy Krakouer, and includes football legends from players to coaches and those who have been touched by the game we love.

Join them as they create a safe space to chat about their lives and experiences, exploring culture and connection and sharing stories about how football brings us together. 

Watch Ashmore's full interview below.