50th game for Eloise Halloran

Written by Lane Cove Cats

24 June 2022

Sunday 19 June 2022, marked the 50th game in the blue and white hoops for Eloise Halloran.

“Tipsy” is not a parent’s first choice of nickname for an 11 year old daughter, but given it emerges from her tendency to trip over at training and, apparently, “Tripsy” is too much of a mouthful in the heat of battle, it fits. It is late summer 2018, that this idea emerges of playing Aussie rules. The BFF has a couple of brothers who play and the girls plot to get their parents to allow them to join the local club. As Tipsy is descended from rugby league and netball families on both sides, it is assumed this heresy will pass, but come the first day of Autumn, Tipsy is at her first training session on SCO. The best friend is nowhere to be found.

Tipsy has always loved her sport; little A’s, gymnastics, tennis, netball: but there is curiosity as to how a contact sport might go. At that first training session, the tackle bags come out. The drill: pick up the ball, hip and shoulder the bag and handball away. Tipsy goes in, gathers, hits the bag, handballs and jogs back to the mark with a smile from ear to ear. A footballer is born.

After all the excitement, you don’t want to be the parent that tells Tipsy the debut will need to wait till Round 2 v Balgowlah. A solid win and singing the song with her new mates, means the Cats are her team for life.

Tipsy starts her career as a defender on the half back line. To the frustration of Coach Jemma, her preferred play is to let the opposition pick up the ball and then tackle them, hard. However, she is an analyst of the game and Jemma soon has her “building the wall”. The message that possession is key is absorbed and a sharp handball is developed as the favoured means of disposal. Kicking and marking take a little longer to master.

In her fifth season, Tipsy is a footballer’s footballer, complete with socks around the ankles. Great hands, a decently long kick and a desire to be in the middle of the contest. One of those players, who never looks like they are running fast, but always seem to be in the right position to get the ball or make the tackle. Tipsy’s got a big motor and often has her biggest influence on a tight game in the last quarter. Tipsy is still building the wall.

Tipsy’s big motor comes from a big heart. Not much interested in the spotlight or goal kicking, she is all about this team. When Armo goes to ground in that semi-final, all are screaming at the players to follow the play, but Tipsy refuses to leave her mate. Enquire about her team training with the premier league teams and you will hear fondness for the intensity, but disappointment at the lack of time to socialise. Want to get Tipsy riled? Suggest she’ll be playing in different colours or singing a different team song.

Like all in this team, she is not about the standout game or the highlights reel, simply an honest footballing contribution, each minute, each quarter, each game; to her friends, to her team and to her footy. For Tipsy, the highest accolade at the Cats is to don the shark hat and be soaked by her mates. At the conclusion of her 50th game, that’s where you will find her.

She is, quite simply, the scribe’s favourite Aussie rules footballer of all time.
Long may she continue to play and to let her dad tag along.

Congratulations Tipsy on 50 games at the Cats.

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