KELSEY Cottrell is one of the leading women's lawn bowlers in the nation and international scene, yet her introduction to the sport was by accident.
She could well have been a decent tennis player but swapped the racquet for a set of bowls and walking the greens.
The St Johns Park Bowling Club player is in New Zealand this week with the Australian team playing in the Trans Tasman against the Kiwis.
Cottrell, 23, played for Australia when 15, one of the youngest to do so.
She started lawn bowls at 12.
Three years later she was an Australian player — a meteoric rise in the sport.
"I was a competitive tennis player and came along to play bowls as my mum, Marilyn played," Cottrell said.
"It just took off from there and I then concentrated on lawn bowls."
Cottrell grew up on Queensland's Sunshine Coast and joined St Johns Park in 2009.
She dominated junior events and was a Queensland junior singles champion in her early teens then came Australian selection in 2005.
Since debuting for Australia at 15, Cottrell has been capped 190 times at international level, and won a bronze medal in the singles at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and she is eyeing a place in the 2014 Commonwealth Games team for Glasgow.
Cottrell also won a world title in 2012 in the pairs event with Tasmanian Rebecca Quail.
One prominent lawn bowler selector and official says Cottrell is one of the very best players in the game.
"To give you an idea of her talent and skill level, she is the lawn bowls equivalent of Argentinian soccer champion Lionel Messi," our source said.
Cottrell said her mother had given wonderful support and was a positive influence on her life.
After the Trans Tasman, Cottrell will return for the Australian Sides Championship at Bendigo on Friday, April 26.
And Cottrell is kept busy outside of bowls training and playing at university.
"I am studying to be a journalist," Cottrell said.