Geelong captain Meg McDonald will reach an incredible milestone this weekend, when she runs out for her 50th AFLW game against Port Adelaide on Saturday.
McDonald will become just the third Cat in AFLW history to reach 50 games, with 2023 marking her sixth season at the club.
The key defender made her AFLW debut in 2017 for the Western Bulldogs, before joining the Cats at the start of 2019 for their inaugural season in the competition.
The general down back has been regarded as one of the league’s best intercept defenders, rarely beaten in one-on-one contests right throughout her career.
The 32 year old has picked up a number of accolades along the way, winning the Geelong best and fairest award in her first season at the club while also being named to the All-Australian team twice.
McDonald joined Renee Garing, Rebecca Webster and Georgie Rankin on Cats AFLW podcast, ‘Yeah the Girls’ to discuss her football journey.
"My Dad worked at North Melbourne football club for a long time, I was obsessed with going to the footy with him and kicking the ball as much as possible,” McDonald said.
"I kicked the footy around a lot, but I never played as a kid. When I got to 23 years old, sport had sort of left my life so I went to training at the Darebin Falcons, and I just loved it.
"That was in 2015, I played some reserves that year and it was around the time that the AFLW competition was announced.
"I was the last signing to the Western Bulldogs after missing out in the draft, I managed four games in the back half of that first season and got delisted at the end of the season.
"I went back to Darebin, played for a bit longer and improved until I was an expansion signing at Geelong when they came into the competition in 2019."
McDonald was appointed as the Geelong captain at the end of 2020, still holding that position to become the longest serving Cats leader in AFLW history.
The captain discussed her development in a leadership capacity on the podcast, describing when she knew the time was right to take the top job at Geelong.
"I'm trying to grow in the role each year,” McDonald said.
“I came into a club where there wasn't heaps of people my age, it was a young team but I felt confident when I became captain that it was appropriate for the group at the time.
"I always wondered how do you know when you're the one to lead it, and you just have to have confidence that you will be the right person for the job.
"I like to think that I have come a long way since the start in terms of how I lead, but also how demanding I can be of the group and myself.
"I am at my best as a leader when I feel good about myself, my game and my energy levels to then be able to pour them into other people.”
McDonald will run out for her 50th game at Alberton Oval this Saturday, as the Cats take on Port Adelaide for the first time in AFLW history.