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AFLW: Big call looms for Giants' dual-code star

Ellie Brush (l) celebrates the Giants' round three win over Collingwood with teammate Jacinda Barclay - AFLW,Ellie Brush,GWS Giants,UNSW Canberra Oval
Ellie Brush (l) celebrates the Giants' round three win over Collingwood with teammate Jacinda Barclay

AUSTRALIAN football and soccer might seem worlds apart, but Greater Western Sydney defender Ellie Brush is proof that skills from the round ball game can be transferred to the NAB AFL Women's competition.

Brush joined the Giants for the club's inaugural season after impressing at a trial day, with the former Canberra United captain quickly emerging as a dual-sport star.

The 29-year-old played every game last season and was rock-solid in a defence that conceded only three goals against Fremantle last Saturday to keep the Giants’ Grand Final hopes alive.

Brush was among her team’s best with 15 disposals in the win at Fremantle Oval, and is repaying the faith shown by coach Alan McConnell.

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"I've certainly been able to use the experience from years of playing in the backline in soccer at a high level over into footy," Brush told

"I feel like I read Aussie Rules pretty well because of my soccer background.

"Al's had faith in me and hopefully I've repaid him."

Brush, who grew up kicking the footy with her father but never played the sport until joining Greater Western Sydney, was full of praise for her teammates after a rousing three-goal triumph over the Dockers.

Although the Giants remain outsiders to feature in the Grand Final, their destiny is partly in their hands, with games against the top two sides, the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane, in the closing rounds.

"It's a massive thing [going] over to Perth and [winning] against Freo. It is a proud moment for the club,” she said.

"We're pretty excited we've kept ourselves in with a chance to make the Grand Final."

Brush can't wait to head to Canberra on Saturday where she’ll again get the chance to perform in front of family and friends.

The Matildas representative left United last year to join the Western Sydney Wanderers, with the move helping her juggle playing two sports and working part-time as a physiotherapist.

"I was born and bred in Canberra, so it's really nice to be able to get back home," Brush said.

"It's a great crowd there, they love their footy and are passionate supporters, so it will be a great spectacle.

"There will be an orange army out there and maybe a few 'Brush' signs as well.

"Every one of (my family) will be out there – aunties, uncles and cousins."

Brush has excelled at soccer, playing in the United States and Norway, but she doesn't know how much longer she can continue to balance two sports.

Giants fans will be hoping she picks Australian football when decision time comes in August.

"All [AFLW] pre-season I was training for the Wanderers in the morning and with the Giants in the afternoons," she said.

"It was a lot of early mornings, starting at 6am, working a few days a week as a physio and then back to train with the Giants in the afternoon.

"I'm quite happy now we're just down to footy.

"I'm going to have to pick one (sport) next year. I don't know (which) – I can't give you that scoop."