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Meg Makes Her Debut

Broken Hill’s own Megan Ryan has had a meteoric rise in football. After first picking up a footy a mere three years ago, she has already knocked over some incredible milestones. Last time we spoke, she’d just signed with Essendon Football Club in the AFLW. This past weekend, she made her debut in the famous black and red of the Bombers.

We spoke with Meg following her debut at the highest level of Australian Rules football

BARRIER TRUTH – G’day Meg. First of all, congratulations on your debut with the Bombers. How was the build up to the game and how did you find out you were making your debut?

MEG RYAN – The build-up was actually awesome. I had no idea I was going to be debuting until two days beforehand. Our head coach rings me every week and this time she Facetimed me, which I thought was a bit odd. So, we were chatting for maybe five or six minutes and then she [head coach, Natalie Wood] said ‘how would you like to rotate with Killer [Essendon ruck]?’ and I was like ‘I would love that’, along with some choice words that I won’t repeat. She cracked up laughing and then she said – make sure you tell your parents.

It was actually my dad’s birthday, so I hung up and Facetimed my parents. And then, of course, I told the rest of the world.

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BT – Mum and Dad are back in Ireland, were they able to watch the game?

MR – Oh yeah. They have the AFLW app, so they plugged it into the TV. There was actually a couple of my cousins, and my brothers all went over to watch with them. The game was on at 6am over there, so they had a little champagne breakfast.

They are so proud. Once the Essendon Football Club put out that I was debuting, the messages I received were just so surreal. From family members, friends, and even people I don’t know who have just been following my story. It was amazing.

BT – Moving to the game itself, was there a notable difference in the skill level compared to playing in the SANFLW and even over here in Broken Hill?

MR – Yeah. To be honest I was expecting a difference, I wasn’t expecting as big a difference as it was. From the very first centre bounce it was just full on. Everyone is so fast, so agile, so strong… just every aspect that maybe I thought I had a bit more of. My strength is my strength. And they are all as strong as me, so that was a bit of an odd feeling. I had to kind of just, I suppose, work around them. The difference was every aspect you need as a footballer, they had.

It was awesome though. Just the ferocity and the pace of the game, it was just next level again.

BT – It was a tough result in the actual match. You guys were right in it at half time, and then the team fell away in the second. Can you describe what went wrong?

MR – I don’t think anything particularly went wrong. What happened was we had the majority of the ball in our forward 50 for most of the game. And Collingwood are so experienced that when they got it in their forward 50, they would score. They converted a lot better than we did.

BT – The Bombers have had a couple of good wins this season, and some of your losses have been real close ones. You currently sit in tenth place, is the team still confident you will make the finals series this season?

MR – Yep. We absolutely are. I think you learn a lot from winning, but you learn a lot more from losing. Especially losing tight games. But this weekend against Brisbane, we want to get out there and win. We’ve learnt a lot from our defeats. We know where we have been making some mistakes, and we have been working on them all week.

BT – Next week is going to be a tough assignment, you play away to Brisbane who are top of the ladder. Is this the perfect opportunity to bounce back after last week’s result?

MR – Without a doubt. Yes. There is a tiny bit of fear heading into this match. Brisbane is a top side. They were premiers two years ago. But the fear that we have is not of them, it is more a fear of losing, because we know we can win.

Brisbane have just come off a loss. We know they will be raring to go. But we run Richmond so close, and Richmond just beat them [Brisbane], and that shows us that they are very beatable.

BT- Well Meg, I really appreciate you taking the time to chat with us. It has been a pleasure. We wish you all the best, not just for this weekend but for the rest of the season as well.

MR – I appreciate it too. Thank-you.

You can cheer on Meg this weekend as she plays her second ever AFLW match for the Bombers as they take on league leaders Brisbane at Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex at 12.40pm local time.

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