National Premier Leagues Women’s (NPLW) Queensland Golden Boot winner Meaghan McElligott has been rewarded for a stellar 2018 campaign, signing a contract with two-time Westfield W-League Champions Canberra United.
McElligott scored an eye-watering 50 goals across 26 games in last season’s NPLW, turning out for both Gold Coast United and Moreton Bay United in the 2018 campaign.
Now, she faces the new challenge of making her mark, not just on the Canberra squad but the entire Westfield W-League.
“Just because I’m a signed player doesn’t mean I’m assured playing time,” she said.
“The squad down here is crazy talented and the level of play is a massive step above the NPLW, so it’s really about just working hard on my fitness and my touch.”
McElligott impressed Canberra head coach Heather Garriock during a strong trial period in the nation’s capital.
“Meg was a revelation this year in the NPLW and an outstanding example of the local talent that exists at club level around the country,” Garriock told canberraunited.com.au.
“Her record speaks for itself and we are delighted to have her at Canberra United.”
Getting the opportunity to play in the Westfield W-League is something McElligott has been working towards for a long time.
“It’s a childhood dream come true, I’m very much still in shock,” she said.
“It all comes down to my whole childhood and working hard and not giving up on my dreams.”
The 23-year-old wasn’t offered a contract after training with Brisbane Roar Women last year and McElligott is adamant this opportunity with Canberra is only just the beginning.
“I’m happy to accomplish this, but I’m not at all content,” she said.
“I’m a pretty hungry and ambitious player and I’m looking forward to hopefully having a good W-League season and who knows, maybe playing for the Matildas one day.”
Above all though, McElligott is just hoping to do what she’s done since she was four and half years old – score goals.
“Hopefully I get a lot of game time this season, and then of course just score a bunch of goals,” she said.
“I definitely think I can score a few goals and impress my coach, my club, and the league.”
In addition to signing McElligott, Canberra United have also acquired the services of Gold Coast United player Cassie Zaffina, who has been recruited as their third choice goalkeeper.
This is quite the feat considering Zaffina only began playing between the goalposts two years ago.
These are both huge moves for not just the players but the NPLW as a whole, highlighting the competition’s quality and its ability to serve as the perfect launch pad for Queensland’s finest female footballers who are looking to go to the next level.
Words: Samuel Johnson
Image: Stephen Archer