South West Rocks' Brooke Mugridge is preparing for her women's gridiron World Cup debut following her selection in the women's Australian training squad.
With only two gridiron seasons under her belt, Mugridge said she was very shocked when she found out she had been selected to represent Australia in gridiron.
"I've only played two seasons of gridiron, so I'm still very new to a sport that is extremely involved physically and in theory," she said.
"I was very shocked, but I'm definitely excited and over the moon to have the opportunity to play for our country."
Mugridge, 26, has always had an interest in football of all codes and aims to turn her passion into a career.
"I've always loved sport," she said. "Growing up, I used to get told I was a bit too aggressive for Netball, so I moved into contact sport.
When she was 21, Mugridge captained the first Kempsey Cannonballs women's rugby union side, while also playing rugby league with the Smithtown Magpies.
Mugridge moved to Sydney just over three years ago to study a Bachelor of Health Science in Health and Physical Education and a Masters of Teaching at Western Sydney University.
During her studies she started looking for a rugby team to continue her sporting career, but it wasn't long before the sport of gridiron caught her attention.
"Because I had been searching lots of different teams online, I got an ad for the gridiron team I play for now, the Northern Sydney Rebels, and I thought I'd give it a crack," she said.
While juggling two university degrees, work placements, an internship and a job, Mugridge managed to find the time to train with her gridiron team, leading to her women's gridiron World Cup selection.
Mugridge goes into camp with the Australian team on July 21, before flying to Finland on July 26.
While Mugridge is preparing for her "once in a lifetime" opportunity, she has been raising funds to help get her to Finland as the trip isn't funded, meaning attending is at her own expense.
Mugridge said she couldn't have made it this far without the support of her family, friends, teammates and community.
"I have a very full-on life to begin with, and all of the extra training on top of that with the Australian squad has made life a bit crazy at the moment, there's not a lot of quiet time," she said.
"I just want to thank everyone for the support they have shown me, it has been very overwhelming.
"I've had a lot of people from back home support me, my club and the other girls in my team have all been so supportive too - it's just been crazy.
"I'm really looking forward to the trip. It's honestly a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, and I'm really looking forward to playing for my country and for my community."
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