BRIGHT FUTURE: Meringur Football Club’s Chloe Minter has a bright future on the football field.

By ADAM LUITJES

IN her first season of football, Meringur Football Club’s Chloe Minter has experienced all the highs and lows of a seasoned campaigner.

Lining up for the Roos in the inaugural Sunraysia Women’s Football League (SWFL), the 17-year-old dominated in the ruck to be named in Meringur’s best players in 10 out of 13 games.

It was that red-hot form that saw her selected – along with teammates Chelsea Dawes and Ashlee Wakefield – for the Bendigo Pioneers in September’s Youth Girls V/Line Cup in Gippsland.

Excelling against the best underage female footballers in Victoria, the Year 11 Coomealla High School student was one of three Bendigo representatives to be selected in the Team of the Carnival.

“It was great, and I only found out about the selection not that long ago,” Chloe said. “I know I was one of the best in one of the games, but it was cool to find out I had made it.”

Chloe’s achievement was made even more special considering she sustained a serious knee (ACL) injury in the second game of the tournament.

“No one touched me, I actually did it by myself,” Chloe explained. “It was an awkward sort of turn and then it popped.

“We had the physiotherapist there on the day and she thought it was an ACL, but I was hoping that wasn’t the case.”

Going under the knife on Wednesday, Chloe is hoping to return to the field late next year, but is under no illusions about the long road ahead of her.

“The surgeon I am seeing got me into a really good physio program in Melbourne, so I’ll just see how everything goes,” she said.

A self-confessed footy tragic, Chloe didn’t hesitate to lace up the boots in the first year of the SWFL.

“I have always loved footy growing up,” she said. “My family followed the Sydney Swans, and I watched the footy with them.

“I used to practice my kicking in the backyard, and then I started playing.”

An athletic ruck, Chloe believes playing at Senior level held her in good stead.

“I had played Under 12s footy, and I played ruck against the boys,” she said. “I found it was a lot harder going against women, and I was probably the smallest ruck.

“I still felt I did pretty well against them.”

Not deterred by her knee injury, Chloe is determined to follow in the footsteps of former Mildura resident Melissa Hickey, who is a marquee player for the Melbourne Demons.

“I am focussing on my knee, however long that will take,” she said. “I’ll just do my physio, get it right, and then get back into it.”

Chloe said her recent achievement wouldn’t have been possible without the support her coach Chris Wakefield, and Sunraysia AFL Victoria Football Development manager, Trevor Ryan.