Melbourne the place to be for Gippy’s own

BOX Hill’s Grace McRae has made a few big moves in her sporting career, from change of sports to change of residence, all with the hope of ultimately making it to the top of the footy tree – the AFLW.

“I played netball and basketball and in the country footy wasn’t a huge thing until maybe four years ago, and then I got into playing just your normal junior footy, and then I got picked up by Gippsland Power and then I went through that program. Went through Vic Country programs, and then I flowed through to Box Hill VFL,” the Gippsland native said.

Although the Casey Demons may have been a closer club geographically for McRae to go to, there is a pretty simple explanation why she ended up at the Hawks instead.

“I actually moved up to Melbourne. I moved to Elwood, so I didn’t even go to Casey and kind of test it out, I came to Box Hill and I just loved it, so just kind of stayed,” McRae said.

With all this in mind, the ultimate goal for McRae is to still make it to the AFLW.

“100% that would be a definite goal. I think that’s everyone’s overall goal,” she says with a laugh. “But definitely mine.”

She believes that “probably the team aspect” of footy was the reason she fell in love with the sport originally. “[It’s] like a lot bigger of a team compared to basketball and netball and so everyone would get around each other and it’s just a really good vibe.”

After pondering the question of strengths and weaknesses of her footy game for a moment, McRae was able to name some.

“Strength, maybe tackling” she said.

“Weakness, probably being able to drive my legs through the pack. Maybe confidence, I need to get more confident, being able to go through more packs and just get my confidence back I think would be a huge thing.”

Like everyone else in the VFLW, McRae has to manage the loads of being a high level footballer with a full time job.

Working at both Rebel Sport and as a disability support worker, she says her work is “pretty flexible” but she has also improved her work life balance a lot in the last year.

“I think last year I wasn’t balancing it at all, but this year I’ve found a really good balance by cutting out time for footy, cutting out time for training, cutting out time for friends and family, like you’ve really got to make certain times for certain things and just work around it.”

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