By ZAC MILBANK
Kelly Barltrop thought her SANFLW career was finished on 48 games at the end of the 2021 season.
Retiring from North Adelaide, the prolific key forward joined West Adelaide to begin her coaching journey, as the Bloods’ forward line assistant and Development League mentor.
But after 12 months off lacing up the boots, Barltrop succumbed to her new teammates pleas to don the red and black in 2023.
As a result, the 29-year-old will line-up in her 50th Hostplus SANFLW League game against her former team, the Roosters, at Hisense Stadium on Saturday.
Speaking on SANFL Radio, Barltrop said her body was feeling fresh after making her comeback with the Bloods in Round 1.
The high school teacher, originally recruited from Adelaide University, is keen to act as an on-field mentor this season as she also pursues a coaching opportunity with the SA U16 Girls Academy.
Having played netball initially, Barltrop switched to soccer where she rose to become the goal keeper for Adelaide United’s Lady Reds.
But Australian Football came calling, ensuring she would make her SANFLW League debut in Round 1 of the inaugural 2017 season with the Roosters.
Winning the 2019 SANFLW Leading Goal Kicker award with 29 majors, Barltrop – who kicked a goal in Round 1 – looms as another factor behind Westies’ predicted rise up the ladder in 2023.