McCarthy excited for endless improvement

EARNING a call-up in the final round of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition, Sturt’s Millie McCarthy is ready for more. The talented key defender picked up seven disposals, three marks and four rebound 50s during the Double Blues’ Round 11 loss to North Adelaide. From there, McCarthy played both South Australian Under 17s games, where she stepped up to average 8.5 disposals, 2.0 marks and 5.5 rebound 50s, earning her a place in the State Academy.

“(My debut was) so much fun,” McCarthy said. “I enjoyed it, it was amazing and that I loved that I got an opportunity, but I just can’t wait until this season and see what happens.”

Though McCarthy has become acquainted with the Sturt footballing program, McCarthy’s journey started in the Top End. Initially, football was a way to complement her netball, but that soon changed.

“I first started playing footy in Darwin, I lived up there,” McCarthy said. “I started playing more because it was off-season, I’m a netball player it was off-season and I had to get fit I guess. “Mum wanted me to play some footy, I was a bit nervous at first, and then once I started playing I loved it, and I watched all my cousins and brothers play, so it’s sort of grown in the family.”

Like many netballers making the transition, it was the physicality of Aussie rules that caught McCarthy’s eye.

“I love to tackle,” McCarthy said. “But as well I think from Sturt I love the culture that it is at Sturt. “Even at the local club everyone gets around each other, and is very supportive of each other, and you can be serious but then also have a very fun time and have an awesome time.”

Listing her key strength as her size, McCarthy said registering 180cm from 15 years of age has certainly helped with her development. Though the Sturt talent admits, there’s plenty to work on, such as her attack on the footy and ground ball work.

Now entering the 2022 season, McCarthy said she would love to crack into the senior women’s side and hold her spot, but understands the difficult nature of team selection.

“I mean hopefully, we’ll see,” she said. “With our new players we’ve recruited, they’re all very talented and we all deserve a spot, and I think it’s very hard when only 22 of us can get it from a squad of 50, so we’ll see what happens.”

McCarthy said the endless possibilities with football meant she was not putting a cap on what she could achieve. Whilst she still enjoys netball and plays the code, it is full steam ahead with footy. As for her long-term goal?

“Anything really,” McCarthy said. “Become the best person/player I can possibly be.”

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