Melrose’s Erin Maguire, who is hoping to become the Wizard of Oz, rules football for Scots in the cup competition

Melrose's Erin Maguire in her Scotland jersey ahead of the AFL Euro Cup in Edinburgh in June
Melrose’s Erin Maguire in her Scotland jersey ahead of the AFL Euro Cup in Edinburgh in June

The 26-year-old, a player for Edinburgh Bloods in the six-team AFL Scotland League, is excited about the chance of an international cap next month and tells us: “It’s fantastic to be selected.

“I was quite surprised because I haven’t played that long. It’s amazing to be chosen.

“Many of the girls who join the Australian rules teams come from either a hockey or rugby background. In Ireland it’s Gaelic football which is a really similar game so their handling skills are nothing short of outstanding. They will be difficult to play.

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Erin Maguire in action for the Edinburgh Bloods

“I started playing last summer and played rugby at the same time just to keep at that level.

Maguire is in the Scottish women’s squad for the AFL Europe Euro Cup in Edinburgh on Saturday 18 June, playing short games against the likes of England and Ireland.

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

Trying to ignore rugby union rules while playing is challenging, but she gets the hang of it, she says.

“My background is actually rugby and I play 12th or 13th. I started playing at Dundee University in 2014. It’s quite a nice transition because the game is quite similar, although under Australian rules the ball can fly in any direction.

“Obviously that’s pretty weird when you’re used to playing rugby where you run forward and pass back. It’s pretty straight forward, but in Australian rules you can be really aware that you’re playing the opposite direction of where you’re looking, but you can pass right back and someone can run forward, so those are really dramatic moves you’re making can do. It’s pretty organized chaos, but it’s really fun.

“My biggest challenge when the ball is on the ground is not diving on it and presenting it again, nor when I don’t want to touch it if it’s wobbling around on the ground because I don’t want to bump it. but there is no stumbling block in the Australian rules.

“Under Australian rules you can try to use your body like an obstacle in rugby, but it’s legal. It is called shepherd.”

Although Down Under Australian rules play features 18v18 teams on large, modified cricket pitch-sized pitches, the women’s version here is contested by 9v9 teams playing on rugby pitches.

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