Queensland captain ready for challenge

Queensland captain, Natalie Thomas, is looking forward to another challenge at the MCG next week.

Since making the switch from soccer to Aussie Rules almost six years ago, Queenslnd captain Natalie Thomas has never looked back.

The former matildas representative said she loved the indigenous game from the first time she picked up a Sherrin , and it seems the game is a pretty good fit for her too.

“A friend of mine brought me into the game and from day dot, I loved it,” she said.

In the midst of incredible growth, Thomas said she enjoyed being a part of a developing sport in women’s footy.

“It’s a different opportunity (to soccer),” she said.

“I’m now involved in a sport that is growing rapidly and pretty stoked to be a part of that.

“Seeing it develop from just a club and state level to the first AFL sanctioned event so in a few short years, I’ve seen a great deal and I’m really happy to be a part of that.”

Thomas said her soccer experience had helped when she started out in footy.

Yeronga’s Thomas was picked at #20 in last month’s inaugural women’s draft, and is looking forward to lining up for Melbourne at the MCG on June 29.

“Being able to be playing alongside the best female AFL players in the country, it’s an amazing achievement,” she said.

“Every person is ecstatic and really looking forward to getting down to the MCG and having a kick around it.”

The utility said she couldn’t believe it when her name was called out in that draft, after injury setbacks in recent years.

“I was absolutely overwhelmed, ecstatic and in a lot of disbelief,’ she said.

“I was out for the last nationals (in 2011) due to an ankle injury and I worked hard to get back into the state team this year.”

The 35 year-old said she was looking forward to the opportunity to experience elite preparation.

“For Queensland, it’s going to be immense to have a high performance program you can learn from,” she said.

“The girls getting that opportunity can help grow and develop the sport.

“It’ll be an eye opener for all of us and at the same time everyone is going to be able to help promote it even further in Queensland.”

Thomas, who is currently in Cairns for the national women’s championships, will be playing alongside a number of Queensland teammates in next weekend’s match, which should make the transition a bit easier.

The Queensland side has had a mixed start to the championships, with an opening loss to Victoria, before picking up a win over NSW yesterday, but Thomas said she was excited to have a crack at WA tomorrow in their third match.

“Overall, the girls are in good spirits and enjoying the championships,” she said.

“We’ll put up a really good performance against WA.”

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