At some stage in life we are all given lemons. For Eliza McNamara they came in the form of a concussion in 2019 whilst playing as an inside-midfielder, but a subsequent move to the wing had the lemonade flowing.
Such is the adaptable nature of McNamara, who has well and truly unlocked her true potential as an attacking winger and was crafting an imposing season prior to its pause. The classy mover was on a mission to stuff the stat sheet in 2020, with a healthy average of 17.3 disposals and 6.3 tackles indicative of a supreme work rate.
In Round 3 McNamara added another string to her bow in a commanding performance, kicking two goals and begging the question - who could stop her?
It would be ‘what’ rather than ‘who’, with the pandemic allowing teams across the league to breathe a sigh of relief that they may not encounter this workhorse.
The talent’s game is built on an unrivaled ability to cover the ground and a thirst for the football, saying she’s not afraid to put in the hard yards.
“We all understand how each other play, and my teammates know I am happy to run to get the ball,” she says.
“I kind of just run around.”
It’s a modest response from a player that boasts an impressive record, but this simplistic approach might just illustrate McNamara’s natural football smarts.
Commencing her career at the age of 12 at Ashburton, McNamara would progress to play for East Malvern before eventually landing herself at the Dragons.
“This is my third year at Sandy. I remember Winnie [Laing] saying she wanted to be the captain when we were the youngest,” she recounts.
Laing didn’t disappoint, ably leading the Dragons in 2020.
Since joining the Dragons, McNamara says she has worked tirelessly on her kicking which shows her willingness to learn, and as a result it has improved out of sight.
“I used to throw it up and chase it with my foot and hope it went somewhere,” she says.
“Danny [kicking coach] has really taken care of us and made sure we nail our kicking.”
The draft hopeful was full of praise for Coach Tam Hyett, describing her as a “walking god” and crediting her teammates for the positive environment.
“We have a lot of fun,” she says.
“That makes us a better team because we get each other on and off the field.”
With the unfortunate break and uncertainty surrounding football, McNamara has been keeping on top of her game with her three brothers.
“Initially I just dropped it, but mum made us go for a kick every day at 3:30pm during isolation so that’s helped to clear my head,” she says.
Pending the league's return this year, McNamara has unfinished business.
“Tam wants me to kick a snap goal, so that would be good,” she laughs.
“Dad always says ‘good midfielders kick goals’… or something like that.”
Outside of football McNamara enjoys socialising and the occasional book (if it’s good), alluding to the convenience of Saturday morning games to free up the weekend.
The league is hopeful to return on September 5, but either way this happy-go-lucky operator will be making more lemonade.