Edinburgh Bloods player explains call-up to represent Scotland at Australian rules football

Erin Maguire has been called up to represent Scotland at Australian rules football.

By Craig Goldthorp
Thursday, 9th June 2022, 11:23 am
Updated Thursday, 9th June 2022, 11:39 am
Erin Maguire in action for Edinburgh Bloods
Erin Maguire in action for Edinburgh Bloods

The 26-year-old, who plays for Edinburgh Bloods in the six-team AFL Scotland league, is delighted about being in with a chance of a cap next month when the Capital hosts the AFL Europe Euro Cup.

“It’s fantastic to be selected,” she said. “I was quite surprised because I’ve not really played that long. It’s amazing to be picked.

“A lot of the girls that join Aussie rules teams have either come from a hockey or rugby background. In Ireland, it’s Gaelic football, which is a really similar game, so their handling skills are just off the charts. They will be tough to play against.

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Melrose's Erin Maguire in her Scotland shirt ahead of June's AFL Euro Cup in Edinburgh

“I started playing last summer and I was playing rugby at the same time just to keep up that skill level as well.

Maguire is in Scotland’s women’s squad for the AFL Europe Euro Cup in Edinburgh on Saturday, June 18, playing short games against top teams including England and Ireland.

“I hope I do the team proud and I’m sure we’ll all work together as a team and do our best in the AFL Euro Cup,” she said.

Trying to put rugby union rules to the back of her mind while playing is a challenge but she’s getting the hang of it, she says.

“My background is actually rugby, and I play at number 12 or 13. I started playing at Dundee University in 2014. It’s quite a nice transition over because the game is fairly similar although the ball can go in all directions in Aussie rules.

“Obviously that is quite weird if you’re used to playing rugby, where you run forward and pass it back. It’s quite straight-lined, but in Aussie rules, you can be really conscious that you’re playing in the opposite direction to where you’re facing but you can pass straight back and somebody can run forward, so it’s really dramatic moves that you can do. It’s quite like organised chaos, but it’s really fun.

“My biggest challenge is, when the ball’s on the ground, not to either dive on it and present it back or when I don’t want to touch it when it’s bobbling along the ground as I don’t want to knock it on, but a knock-on doesn’t exist in Aussie rules.

“In Aussie rules, you can try to use your body like obstruction in rugby but it’s legal. It’s called a shepherd.”

Although the Aussie rules game down under features 18-a-side teams on large, modified cricket field-sized pitches, the women’s version here is contested by nine-a-side teams playing on rugby pitches.