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Rising star keeps turning heads

Tom Fee  February 19, 2018 8:36 PM

Emily McGuire kicked two goals on debut on Sunday.

Emily McGuire has made a habit of producing surprises on the football field, most recently a two-goal effort in her NAB AFL Women’s debut in Fremantle’s five-point win against Melbourne on Sunday.

On the back of her performance, the 19-year-old has been nominated for the NAB AFL Women’s Rising Star award and is in the running for the $20,000 prize for the Rising Star winner.

Her first goal, an impressive round-the-body snap in the second term, would have been in the conversation for goal of the round were it not for her second goal, a quick-thinking snap from the pocket in the final quarter that put Fremantle up for good. 

McGuire first started turning heads as a junior footballer with the Northam Barons in the Avon Junior Football League.

As the only girl in her U11 and U13 side, McGuire said her presence on the field was occasionally questioned. However, the promising footballer let her abilities do the talking.

“I was the only girl, it was exciting and I loved it,” McGuire said. 

“The boys, I think some of them were kind of like ‘why are you playing’ but they would have a different opinion after the game finished.

“I made a lot of friends from that, so I loved the challenge.”

Thanks to her exploits on Sunday, McGuire is now giving back to her junior footy side, with NAB awarding junior clubs of each nominee with a Club Recognition Award pack of practical and financial resources, valued at over $2500.

She’s also making a name for herself, starring on the back page of Monday’s The West Australian.

“It’s surreal, I can’t believe it. I don’t think I’ve ever been in the paper before,” McGuire said.

“I think I’m still on a bit of a high from the game. It’s amazing, I’m feeling quite sore but it doesn’t even matter, it’s all worth it.”

Back page of today’s 🗞 Not bad for a debutant 🤩#foreverfreo

A post shared by Fremantle Dockers (@freodockers) on

McGuire admitted to feeling the pressure to perform on debut, coming into the side to replace the suspended Stacey Barr.

With Barr set to return against Brisbane in round four, McGuire has done her best to ensure she can remain in the side. 

“I didn’t want to think about (fighting for my spot) too much as I didn’t want to overthink it and not play like I know that I can,” McGuire said.

“So it was in the back of my mind but it wasn’t my main focus, my main focus was to help get the win with the girls.

“There’s a lot of pressure I put on myself but I just wanted to challenge myself. Coming into the game, I noticed instantly that it’s very fast, it’s nothing I’m used to, but once I got my first touch of the ball I think I was alright.” 

Thanks to McGuire’s second goal, Freo prevailed against the then undefeated Demons to improve its record to two wins and one loss, seeing Fremantle remain in fifth place but equal on points with the ladder-leading Brisbane Lions.

McGuire said her second goal, which came from 20m out on the pocket, was her highlight from the game.

“‘Happy’ (Ashlee Atkins) went up in the ruck and she just tapped it down and it kind of bounced at the back for me so I scooped it up and I hoped for the best,” McGuire said.

“It ended up going through and I saw Juddy (Kara Donnellan), who was right next to me, and she just screamed at me and I felt, ‘did that just happen?’ and everyone came around and got around me.” 

Fremantle’s next AFLW game is against Brisbane, played at South Pine Sports Complex in Brisbane, on Saturday 24 February.