Life imitates art for Playing For Keeps star
THE AFL season may be over but the action's heating up on the small screen with the return of Playing for Keeps.
The Ten drama is centred around the glamorous wives and girlfriends of the players and coaches at the Southern Jets, a fictional Melbourne football club.
Returning star Isabella Giovinazzo finally gets her hands on a football with her character, new mum Jessie, determined to make it back to match fitness so she can realise her dream of playing in the AFLW.
"She wanted to become a footballer, but then she got married pretty early and had kids," Isabella tells The Guide. "That's why coming back to footy is quite exciting - it was always her dream. It's tricky though. She's had two kids and four years off the field but she gives it a red hot go."
The Melbourne native admits she wasn't a footy fan, or much of an athlete, before being cast in the show. But she's found a new love for Aussie rules thanks to her training with retired Demons goalkicker Russell Robertson.
"I'd never played sports before I started on this show and I'd never been interested," she says.
"It was a strange coincidence but around the time I got the job I started going to games and supporting Geelong with my family. I joined a local pub team and now I love football.
"I went down to a lot of AFLW games and it was so inspiring to watch these women run around and tear it up. It's a tough game and it's just so cool watching people who look like me run around and do that stuff physically and not be afraid to go for it."
But there are still plenty of chances to frock up with the rest of her returning co-stars: Madeleine Madden, Olympia Valance, Annie Maynard and Cece Peters.
With Paige (Cece) returning from six months abroad, the glamour squad is officially back together. But when they try to welcome Kendall, the girlfriend of the club's new star recruit, into the fold things don't go to plan.
"Kendall and Jessie really clash," Isabella says.
"If someone's being a bit of a knob she doesn't cop it. Early on she and Kendall butt heads and the others need to intervene. Jessie doesn't seek out the drama but she doesn't fold - ever.
"Kendall's a bit of a hot mess, but she's a pretty great character."
Mum-of-two Jessie is also navigating an unusual co-parenting arrangement with friend and Jets player Rusty.
"So many people are having children in different situations," she says.
"A lot of my friends are co-parenting and it doesn't have to be difficult. It can be really good."
Season two of Playing for Keeps premieres tonight at 8.45pm on Ten/WIN.