Injury free season the key for Suns skipper

INJURY might have brought her bottom-age AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships to a grinding halt, but Queensland midfielder/forward Josie McCabe was determined not to let it worry her. The Gold Coast Suns Academy talent put her head down and worked hard playing through the QAFL Women’s and then got back to business in Suns colours leading up to her top-age season.

McCabe played in the Suns’ win over Oakleigh Chargers last season, picking up eight disposals and laying seven tackles. At 173cm, McCabe has shown a capacity to play in multiple roles, but was unable to show her wares in the national carnival, going down in the early stages of game one against Vic Metro. Though it was disappointing, McCabe said she tried to focus on the future.

“(I was) a bit deflated, but you can’t do anything,” McCabe said. “I always think you can’t change what happens, you can only work on the games you can play. Play good footy when you’re out there and get as fit as possible.”

Known for her tackling pressure around the ball McCabe led by example for the Suns Academy so far in 2023, with several trial games against other Northern Academy sides before the Suns’ big win over Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels yesterday.

“I think as a team that was our best game,” McCabe said. “As a team we played really well and the pressure was high, so it was really good.

“It’s a pretty good feeling on a nice deck as well. I think we’re a really close team this year, so we always get closer the more time we spend together as well.”

McCabe was named skipper of the Suns Academy this year, which she admits was one of her goals heading into 2023.

“I was absolutely stoked with that,” McCabe said. “I always wanted to captain, so it’s always a nice feeling to lead the girls out.”

Though she has felt most natural through the middle, McCabe has been trialled in a number of roles showcasing that versatility she was unable to last year.

“My preferred role is inside mid but I don’t mind playing a bit of forward,” McCabe said. “They’re testing me out in the backs as well. But it’s good, we’ve got a strong backline so they always help me out where they can.”

It is only the start of a long year for McCabe and her peers, but the draft-eligible talent has her sights set on reaching the elite level. Before that happens, she is just focused on remaining injury free and putting in the work.

“The goal to get drafted, that would be awesome, but just play consistent footy in an injury free season would be awesome,” McCabe said.

Gold Coast Suns Academy return home to take on Western Jets this Sunday, May 28 at Brighton Homes Arena from 2pm.

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