Michelle Carney saw first-hand the devastation caused by the recent bushfires on the South Coast.
The Illawarra Stingrays veteran was relaxing in Sussex Inlet when the emergency situation began to escalate around Christmas.
Carney escaped safely, but she said it was "absolutely heart breaking" to see what occurred.
Like many, the region is close to her heart.
"Seeing people's faces down there and the families affected, it's terrible," Carney said.
"My heart goes out to all of them. Coming through Nowra and seeing that dark smoke was really eerie - it was pretty bad."
While the South Coast and other communities around NSW continue to recover, Australians have dug deep to support those in need.
Carney has been keen to help where possible. And when she received the call asking if she would take part in a fundraising football game, she didn't hesitate to say 'yes'.
The former W-League talent will headline Saturday's Football for Firies women's 'City v Country All Stars' at Ian McLennan Park at 4pm.
Carney will line up at either striker or mid for Country, which will consist of Stingrays and Albion Park FC players. Representing City will be Sutherland's National Premier League team.
"It's always a battle and rivalry when we play any Sydney team," Carney said.
"Like any Sydney team, they like to beat us and we like to beat them. No doubt it's going to be fun, but you still want to get that win."
The women's game will be held ahead of the Albion Park City Invitational XI v Wollongong Wolves men's clash at 6pm.
Entry is by $2 donation to the Salvation Army, with all proceeds raised on the night from food and drink sales to be donated to the bushfire appeal. Organisers are hoping to raise $20,000.
"It's great that all the girls are getting together and then the boys after," Carney said.
"It's great that we can play a sport that we love and it's fantastic that we can raise some funds. Bring your full wallets and make them empty on the night.
"It's unbelievable that, in any sporting community, everybody is getting involved to help. That's what we love about Australians."
Albion Park footballer and emerging Australian rules football talent Rylee McGartland will line up for Country at centre mid on Saturday.
McGartland said it was "such a charitable cause" and "none of us took a step back" when asked to take part in the game.
"No-one second guessed it that we can give back to a community that is suffering so much at the moment," she said.
"Whether it's a big contribution or a little contribution, we can help people get back on their feet. So for me, there was no doubt that I wanted to get amongst it and chip in as much as possible.
"All we have to do is go out there and play soccer, and we're raising money for the people that need it."
Football South Coast chief executive officer and managing director, Anne-Marie Balliana thanked the Sutherland club for backing the initiative.
"We've been lucky to have our neighbours from Sutherland NPL team support the cause. That's our City team," she said.
"In our Country team, we will have a number of local superstars in our Albion Park girls and the Illawarra Stingrays who were really happy to get on board and help with the game.
"The one thing about sport is it brings the community together. And when we can see the devastation that was happening, not too far away from us, a lot of the community just want to get involved and helping. I think for something like this, it's easy for people to put up their hands and say they want to get involved and get on board and support it."
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