As an avid fan of the fictional Harry Potter book series, Emma Morris dreamed of playing quidditch, the sport made famous by the novels.
While growing up in Mooroopna, Miss Morris developed her taste for the sport before moving to Melbourne.
Five years on, the 28-year-old has fulfilled an impressive career in the sport and was recently named captain of New Zealand’s national quidditch team.
Originally created by author J.K. Rowling as the sport of the wizarding world, quidditch is played completely in the air by witches and wizards on broomsticks.
Adapted for real life, the sport has reached international standing, governed by the International Quidditch Association.
Quidditch is a mixed-gender contact sport with a mix of elements from rugby, dodgeball and tag. Each team is made up of seven athletes who play with brooms between their legs at all times.
Miss Morris plays for the Melbourne Manticores and is one of the founding directors of the Australian Quidditch Association.
In 2013, she was the association’s treasurer and continued as a director in 2014 and 2015.
She is also one of the first five people to gain a referee accreditation from the International Quidditch Association.
Holding a dual Australian-New Zealand citizenship due to her dad’s heritage, Miss Morris was eligible to play for the New Zealand national team.
‘‘I was on a bus when I got the call and I was speechless,’’ Miss Morris said.
‘‘I think because of my referee experience and my knowledge of the rules I was chosen as captain.’’
The team will begin training with weekend-long workshops, in which Miss Morris will potentially run refereeing sessions.
The New Zealand team will compete in the 2018 Quidditch World Cup in Florence, Italy, between June 27 and July 2.
Ready? Here are game facts
The seven-player team is made up of one seeker, three chasers, two beaters and one keeper with one snitch, one quaffle and three bludgers.
Seeker: Chases and catches the snitch to score points and end the game. They must grab the tail off the snitch’s shorts. The snitch is worth 30 points.
Chasers: Score goals with the quaffle by throwing or kicking it through the hoops to gain 10 points.
Beaters: Use the bludgers to disrupt other players.
Keeper: Guards the hoops from opposing chasers.
1 snitch: The snitch is a runner dressed in yellow with a velcro tail attached to their shorts. They are released onto the field at the 18th minute and must not be captured. Once a seeker pulls their tail, the game is over.
1 quaffle: A volleyball is used to score goals by throwing or kicking it into the hoops. The keepers and chasers are the only ones allowed to use this ball. Chasers can use a quaffle to block incoming bludgers.
3 bludgers: These are used by beaters to set the other players back. When a player is hit by a bludger, they must drop any ball they are holding, return to their side and touch one of their goal posts before re-entering play.