Meg Bentley - the Relentless Eagle
Updated: Aug 19, 2019
“Go out and try; you will love it – I promise you! A lot of people think footy is a boy’s sport, well really, it’s not, so this should motivate you to prove people wrong! Show them that it’s not; it’s both a female and male sport.”
This advice comes from a girl who has grown up living and breathing football.
Meg has spent most of her football career as an Eagle; with the exception of one season as a Rooster, due to the lack of female teams at the time;
“I started at the McLaren Eagles when I was just eight years old, I continued there until the U14s with the boys. I was then too old to continue so I went to the Strathalbyn Roosters for a year with the women’s team, due to McLarens not having a team at the time. I stayed there for a year and then came back and now I’m playing in opens at McLaren’s.”
As for success during this time;
“I have played in South Adelaide’s development squad since it started and just made it this year in the U17s. I have been captain a few times, the leading goal kicker last year and finished runner-up to the Best and Fairest.”
And one of her proudest moments occurred very recently;
“In the preliminary final this year against Strath; I kicked the winning goal, with two minutes left, to win by four points. It was a mark and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face! I was so happy with myself; all my teammates gave me hugs and congratulated me! My coaches said they had faith in me, I was half backing myself but I got the job done and now we face them again in the big dance!”
However, despite the success the thing she seems to value more is the people around her;
“I love my coaches and everything they do for me; and my teammates for having my back out on the ground.”
And there are a few teammates in particular;
“Tahlita Bethuke, Jess Veasey and my sister Lexie, I like them all, but these are a few of my closest players at South; Rayne, Nazz and Chelsea.”
Other than being extremely promising in the sport; what she loves most about the game is;
“That I can separate from the rest of the world and just play the sport I love; I love my teammates and my coach Kiefver Zohar and previous coaches who have helped me be the player I am today.”
“My current coach Kiefver Zohar (Honey Badger) has helped me a lot this year, for someone like me who is 15 and playing in a over 17 age group, it was hard. Against much bigger and stronger girls, who are more skilful, I just started to not enjoy my football anymore. He said to me that ‘footy isn’t perfect, its bloody chaos. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to be perfect, keep our head up mate; you have a bright future’. To hear that from a coach and a player himself helped me to start enjoying it a lot more again. He has had a huge impact on the way I have played this year and I can’t thank him enough for everything he’s done for me!”
Considering how appreciative she is; its no surprise that she would also like to thank;
“My parents and family for always having my back and pushing me. I had a big injury last year and had six months off sport, with four of those months spent in a moon boot. It was the worst time; it was preseason for everything and I was behind, but my parents helped me through everything and that’s why I am still here today.”
Probably one of the most intriguing things about Meg is her nicknames; Snag and Albert, which definitely needs context to be understood.
She got the nickname Albert in honour of Albert Einstein because “I got a concussion and then I felt smarter”.
As for Snag, that is in honour of an Australian icon; “one of my coaches Chris Chahla called me this because I wore a Bunnings shirt to training and he said, ‘right, now you’re snag’”.
To continue her show of appreciation; even her playing numbers, 16 and 8, are in honour of her idols.
“Idol for 16 is Jordan Mutton, who plays for McLaren Eagles and idol for 8 is Jesse Watchman, who also plays for McLaren Eagles.”
Despite having a very promising path ahead; Meg’s overwhelming appreciation for those who have helped her and her high regards for her fellow teammates; she will remain the humble person she is today, every step of the way.