Women’s Footy – VFL: Maddie Boyd

In their first season in VFL Women’s, the Geelong Magpies have demanded a response – good, bad, anything – from the teams they have faced for the first time.

Their performances have varied in the higher competition but all opponents, whether begrudgingly or admiringly, agree that a win against the Magpies does not come lightly. Geelong hit contests hard, play for keeps in one-on-ones and treat each team on merit, not reputation.

Geelong’s second VFL Women’s win came last Sunday when they upset eighth-placed Cranbourne by 15 points. It was a major step forward for one of the competition’s youngest sides: they not only outfought the Eagles in the stoppages but backed themselves with outside run and direct play.

Among their best was bona fide star ruckman Maddie Boyd. The 23-year old Boyd was the youngest player in Melbourne’s Women’s AFL Exhibition clash against Brisbane and has been selected in the Demons’ extended squad for their match against traditional rivals the Western Bulldogs on September 3. She says Geelong came into VFL Women’s knowing they would have to maintain their confrontational game style.

“We’ve always been tough, we’ve always had that about us,” says Boyd. “We’ve been a very defensive team, and we knew we were going to have to be defensive. I think we’ve really held off teams quite well.”

The Geelong-born Boyd’s football journey was sparked when her father took her to the legendary Garry Hocking’s final match at Kardinia Park in Round 22, 2001. She was eight at the time, and began her career at Grovedale West Primary three years later as the ruck in an otherwise all-boys’ team.

Boyd may be Melbourne’s youngest player but she is a verifiable senior leader at Geelong. The Magpies’ future development is coming from a batch of young players who have shouldered the responsibility of significant match-day roles. Midfielders Lily Mithen, Laura Taylor and Tamikka Beeston have made their bones in VFL Women’s this season with opportunities also given to Cheryl and Lucy de Groot in the forward line.

“They’ve definitely got potential,” says Boyd. “I try and set a good example. Just lead by example.”

Boyd faced Victorian high-jumpers Cara and Breann Moody in the ruck against Cranbourne and changed her approach after a first half in which she didn’t win a single hit-out. Staying on the ground, Boyd became a fourth rover and gave the Geelong faithful a tantalising glimpse of what their midfield could look like if they find a ruck.

“If you can beat them on the outside, you can live with not making a few contests,” says Boyd. “I’ve always played midfield but I’m developing as a key forward,” reflects Boyd. “It’s good that I’ve been able to play a few spots, it keeps me versatile.”

Having played a crucial role in one major victory, Boyd now has one eye fixed on first making Melbourne’s final list and then proving herself against the best at VU Whitten Oval. The September 3 clash is almost indisputably the most significant Women’s AFL match yet: it will be the final hit-out before the 2017 AFL sides start to take shape.

Geelong play Melbourne Uni at Melbourne University Main Oval this Sunday from 2pm.


About Callum O'Connor

Here's to feelin' good all the time.

Leave a Comment