Ipswich Eagles vice-captain Stephanie Cockerill-Wright (left) and captain Rebecca McCarthy are keen to get the delayed footy season underway in July. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Ipswich Eagles vice-captain Stephanie Cockerill-Wright (left) and captain Rebecca McCarthy are keen to get the delayed footy season underway in July. Picture: Cordell Richardson

Captain backs gritty Ipswich women when footy returns

REFLECTING on her Ipswich team's incredible grand final success last year, Rebecca McCarthy is bubbling with excitement.

She knows how special it was for the Ipswich Eagles women to unite as one and triumph in the club's historic achievement.

In just the team's second season in the QFAW Division 2 North competition, the Eagles conquered their highly regarded opponents Hinterland 39-19 in the title decider.

It was a monumental performance, especially with a number of women playing footy together for the first time.

This season, McCarthy has even more reason to deliver her trademark enthusiasm.

She's been appointed captain for the 2020 season scheduled to start in July, if all goes well after training resumes on June 12.

"Last year was my first year (as co-captain) so it's fantastic,'' she said thriving on the leadership role.

"I think it's a great experience. Everyone should do it.''

While being a leader can generate some daunting moments, McCarthy is up for the challenge and appreciates the honour.

"And two in a row is just magic,'' she said, delighted with how her team bonded last season.

"It's the first time I've had a crack in AFL so it's massive.''

McCarthy, 26, works as an avionics technician at RAAF Amberley.

She started playing Aussie rules in high school before continuing the game with RAAF teams in annual military competitions.

She was also appointed captain of the latest RAAF team. But sadly the yearly ADF carnival was cancelled due to the coronavirus shutdown.

The Yamanto-based forward flanker will now turn her attention to helping the Eagles should some women's footy finally get played this year.

If the new shortened season kicks off in July, McCarthy knows the Eagles will have targets on their backs.

"We've gone from underdogs to we're the team to chase for the year,'' she said, expecting added challenges being a shorter than usual season.

"It will be a really interesting year.''

 

The Ipswich Eagles team which won the QFAW Division 2 North grand final last year. Picture: Cordell Richardson
The Ipswich Eagles team which won the QFAW Division 2 North grand final last year. Picture: Cordell Richardson

Most encouraging for McCarthy and her teammates is knowing how much they improved.

"A lot of those girls that played with us last year just grew in confidence,'' she said.

After their inspired grand final victory, last year's players had six weeks off before launching back into the pre-season.

They didn't get a game this year before everything was locked down.

The hope is to get at least 12 home and away games from July 18, plus a top six final series where the Eagles stamped their authority last season.

Assisted by accomplished vice-captain Stephanie Cockerill-Wright, McCarthy is keen to reproduce the team spirit that guided the Eagles to memorable glory last year.

"I don't think you could ask for a better finish to the season,'' she said, knowing how important momentum is in footy.

Her main advice for teammates is to train hard and have fun when the footy returns.



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