Terrific support inspires captain to rise from broken finger
WHEN you are one of the team's most valuable motivators, it's crucial you receive the same support during a major setback.
Ipswich Eagles co-captain Rebecca McCarthy did when she missed eight weeks mid-season with a broken finger and complications on her left hand.
Preparing for Saturday's QFAW Division 2 North preliminary final at Limestone Park, McCarthy revealed her personal torment from the injury and the strength she gained from her Ipswich teammates.
McCarthy initially had to sit out three games with her finger in a splint. However, after problems with the bone mending, she needed an operation to insert a plate, screw and wire in her finger.
"I snapped about 70 percent of my knuckle off and I was hoping I could just wear a splint,'' she said.
But her footy comeback was delayed further when surgery was required. The middle bone slipped into the hole left by the knuckle damage.
"That was rough,'' the RAAF Amberley avionics technican said, also having her delicate work restricted.
"There's nothing worse than sitting on the sidelines watching your girls win and just wanting to be there.''
After being an inspirational Aussie rules player on the field, the team leader needed some motivation herself to get through the testing time.
She received that extra lift being in her Eagles' team environment.
"That was the only thing that got me through,'' McCarthy said.
"Trying to get my enjoyment or my love for the sport into those girls and get them back next year.
"Watching those new girls develop is fantastic.
"I guess injuries give those other girls an opportunity to come into the side and the depth that we have this year is just phenomenal.''
Yamanto-based McCarthy returned to the field for Ipswich's final three home and away games before continuing to play during recent finals matches.
"It's actually been really good,'' she said, still wearing tape and a splint to protect her finger.
The forward flanker was even switched to the backline last week, showing her versatility.
McCarthy started playing Aussie rules in high school before continuing the game with RAAF teams playing in annual military carnivals.
She joined the Eagles last season.
Having travelled widely through her family's RAAF commitments, the sporty allrounder said Aussie rules provided a terrific source of enjoyment.
"It's an exciting sport for women,'' she said, having previously played a lot of Oztag and touch footy.
"It was nice just to play a sport that gives a lot of flexibility and there's a lot of skills to learn.''
In her first year as Eagles' co-captain, the well-travelled footballer has seen an incredible transformation.
Her team can qualify for the grand final by beating Moorooka in Saturday afternoon's preliminary final at Limestone Park.
"It's very exciting to be with a club that's trying to get some-thing off the ground, especially women's footy because it's going places,'' McCarthy said.
"Seeing that development with the RAAF and then coming to a club which is just trying to get a female team off the ground is really exciting.
"Watching those girls grow has been massive.''
QFAW Division 2 North preliminary final: Saturday (4.45pm) - Ipswich Eagles v Moorooka at Mark Marsh Oval, Limestone Park.