Defender is Thunder's first to 50

BENDIGO Thunder defender Sarah Baldwin couldn’t wish for a better opponent than Melbourne Uni to play in her 50th match.

The 23-year-old becomes the club’s first player to reach the milestone on Sunday.

And while she said Thunder would approach the game just like any other, it would be an exciting day.

“The team we are playing is one of my favourites to play against,” Baldwin said of the third-placed Mugars.

“I have got a few friends in that team and one of their players trains with us, so it’s great to be playing them, if anyone, for my 50th.”

Baldwin has enjoyed a decorated football career since starting out in the inaugural Bendigo youth girls’ league in 2007.

She won a premiership in her debut season at Eaglehawk, captained the side to another grand final in 2008 and was selected to represent Victoria both years.

After two years on the sidelines after turning 18, she was thrilled when Bendigo Thunder was formed and she could continue playing at senior level, securing two premierships along the way.

She again earned state honours in 2014, taking the field for the talented Vic Country team that defeated Vic Metro in their challenge match for the first time since 2003.

Baldwin is in her fourth year at Thunder and is a co-vice-captain of the club.

She said the game had grown enormously since she began and there were so many more opportunities for females of all ages.

“It really has come a long way in six or seven years.”

Sarah Baldwin in action against Melbourne Uni earlier this year. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Sarah Baldwin in action against Melbourne Uni earlier this year. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

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