WATCH: Ipswich Gridiron star takes down journo
IN a sport where Australians rarely excel, two Ipswich women are on the verge of making history.
Breaking into the world of American football, Meagan Cover is set to join fellow Ipswich teammate Jody Smith in the Australian Outback women's trial squad in February.
With Australia on the verge of becoming the eighth country to take part in the International Federation of American Football Women's World Championships next year, the pair could become members of the first international squad from Down Under.
Picked alongside her Griffith University teammate in the 80-player Outback training squad, Cover said the selection had been both a surprise and reward for her first season with the team.
"I'm pretty headstrong and if there's somewhere I want to go I've always been able to achieve it," she said. "There was no doubt in my mind that I wouldn't make this happen.
"In a sport like this you need to have a lot of determination and self drive. My on field performance has really improved considering it is my rookie season, and I would like to think I was one of a few stand-outs."
With Australia set to join Sweden, Canada, Finland, Germany, Spain, Austria and the United States in the third international tournament, Cover said she would be leaning on the experience of Smith and her coaching staff.
"A lot of these girls were selected at the start of the year but I was selected purely based on my performance throughout my season," she said. "I kept it quiet so none of my mates knew about it in case I didn't make it so it was awesome to find out I had been selected."
From the 80 players selected in the Outback training squad, the two Ipswich representatives are hopeful of making the final cut which will see 40 members become the first Australian women's team to compete at the IFAF World Cup.
Still classed as a 'rookie', Clover said the camp would give her a unique opportunity to learn from experienced coaches from America and Australia.
"Now we go into an intensive camp for a week in February and that's where we all come together from all over Australia," she said. "We'll all just train, eat, breathe and sleep football.
"I'll just try to do what I do, perform well and pray that I get the ticket. Even just making it to the selection camp is good but to say that I was a part of the first ever Australian team would be amazing."
With interest in the iconic American sport growing in Australia, Cover hopes the Outback team can bring more exposure to the women taking up the fast-paced sport.
"I think in the next couple of years I'd like to see it grow more than what it has," she said. "Since I started it definitely is growing, now we have a team up in Cairns which in itself is pretty awesome.
"Hopefully we can get more people aware that the sport is actually in Australia. The thing is we don't realise just how technically advanced this game actually is, the amount of plays that we have to know and all of that kind of stuff."
Growing up in Ipswich, Cover has come from a strong rugby league background but still found plenty of differences between the two sports.
"It's a massive learning curve," she said. "Coming into a sport where I didn't know anything about it was actually a big draw-card for me. I had to learn it from the ground up.
"I'd like to think people who know NRL and rugby would understand it a bit more, it's not hard to transition though."
A former captain of the Western Jaguars and Queensland Sundevils representative, Smith was selected in the Outback squad at the start of the year.
After winning the first women's national competition in 2014, she said representing Australia would be a special achievement.
"I wanted to do something different, try something new and Gridiron was it," Smith said. "I have kept playing cause I love it and I enjoy the mental and physical challenges that comes with the game.
"After representing my state, the next step is the Australian Outback team, there would be no higher honour to me."