The quality that drives Eldridge's commitment to AFL
THERE is nothing better in an Aussie rules football club than the family feeling among its players.
That's the verdict of Bay Power captain Mikaela Eldridge, who is arguably one of the best individuals in the inaugural AFL Wide Bay Womens competition.
You couldn't miss the midfielder during the Power's 15-point win against Gympie Cats last week.
She was not far from every contest and found her teammates with almost every kick or handball.
But while Eldridge, who spent three years playing for Queanbeyan in AFL NSW/ACT before her move to Hervey Bay in 2014, loves her footy, nothing can top the club's camaraderie.
"When I started they were a fresh team out, they'd played for four years so they were still jelling, but that team taught me a lot about what a team actually is,” the qualified body piercer said of her time at Queanbeyan.
"Footy to me is about camaraderie and being a family, that's what I'm trying to get the girls to understand and they definitely are. It's about looking after your mates.”
Eldridge won two premierships in her time at the NSW/ACT club, but while the 29-year-old is driven to succeed a win at the March 24 grand final is not all that matters.
"As much as the game is awesome and it will make you fit, it's the camaraderie and the family feel you get from playing,” she said.
Eldridge will line up alongside her Power teammates when they face Brothers Bulldogs at Norm McLean Oval today.
She has always loved sport. She has a deep background in hockey and softball, and enjoyed success in baseball.
Her start in Aussie rules was not just to play as much sport as was available. She was convinced into giving the game a go, and in time grew a love for the game.
"To be honest, you wouldn't believe it but I used to be 80kg, 30kg more than now,” she said. "One of the girls at work, her sister played AFL and she kept trying to recruit me.
"One day I turned up to training and I never looked back. I grew up with softball and hockey in my blood, then played baseball for about five years.”
First bounce at 3.30pm.