PERSEVERENCE, hard work and respect – Pakenham A Grade skipper Meaghan Musgrave could fly to the moon and back if these are the fuels to success.
The popular Lions mid-courter chalked up her 250th club game on Saturday, adding a significant milestone to a career that hasn’t always been in the spotlight.
Sure she was a standout junior, winning best and fairest awards in the under 13s and 17s, but it took a breakout season in B Grade to see her emerge at the elite level of the game.
In 2011 she was runner-up in the league B Grade best and fairest award -and it got her future A Grade team-mates talking.
“I remember a few of them seeing that and saying ‘you should be playing A Grade with us’, and that’s how I got into the team,” Musgrave said.
The following season she won the club’s A Grade best and fairest award and a year after that was a member of the club’s 2013 premiership side.
Not bad for a young Meaghan Cook who drifted to the club as an eight-year-old in 1998.
“We were neighbours with the Tyrrell’s and dad (Bill) was team manager for the reserves football team so we were always around the club,“ Meaghan said. “Toni Dart and I started mucking around when the senior training was on and it just sort of took off from there.”
Meaghan and Toni were part of a successful junior program that played in seven grand finals – but converted just one into a premiership in the Under 15s. It was that tough run through the juniors that made the 2013 experience all the more special.
“We were talking about 2013 the other day, how we didn’t have a team full of superstars but just a group of great mates going out there each week to give it our best shot,” Meaghan said.
Time flies in sport, and Meaghan’s transition from a starry-eyed junior to a well-respected mentor has already taking place. Her leadership role extends to being coach of the C Grade side this year.
“It doesn’t feel that long ago that I was looking up to players like Stacey Deayton, so it does feel a little strange to have these young girls looking up to me as an A Grade player now,” she said.
And she had a word of advice for those youngsters starting their time in the sport.
“The thing I love the most is the support that you get from a netball club,” she said.
“I’ve experienced some hardship and some tough times recently and the girls at the club really helped me get back on my feet. You make great mates and friendships that will last you a lifetime.”
Well said, and well played, Cookie!
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