Thank you for the support – Charlotte Caslick

It has been a tough season for us backing up from the highs of 2015/16 and the Olympic Games. We’ve faced a fair bit of adversity during the course of the season and at times haven’t aimed up to it as well as we expect of ourselves. But we finished off the Japanese tournament showing some character and carried that through to Canada. Whilst we didn’t get the result we were aiming for in Langford, things were starting to click into gear for us. In the semi-final loss to Canada we played some of our best footy for the season, dominated most aspects of the game, but still managed to lose. That happens in sport and in sevens in particular, so we go into the last tournament of the season in a pretty good space and looking to finish the season on a high.

It’s made me reflect on where we’ve been & I was just looking back over some of the messages of support we received during the Olympic Games and in the aftermath of our gold medal win. They brought a smile to my face, just like they did in August last year. These awesome messages are still coming through, but I thought you guys might be interested to see what people had to say at the time (I’ve removed names to protect the identity of those concerned!).


PR. You ladies are bad ass. Having a GREAT TIME watching U kick butt.

Hope you all take home the GOLD! ! !

NS. So exited for you all and bring on the Finals we’ll all be cheering for you

MD. Hey Charlotte! Just wanted to say well done for the win over canada and goodluck for the final in a couple of hours! You’re all doing super well and we’re all behind you. Most exciting sport in the Olympics by far! Good luck!! Xx

JA. Just wanted to say Good Luck, in your match today vs the U.S. I am watching from the states but after watching your day one performance, you’ve made a new fan out of me. Now pulling for you and Aussies.

CK. Fxxxing go Aussie girls I might have had a few beers and threw the tv in the drive way when New Zealand scored in front of about 25 of my friends and embarrassed myself but fxxk it lol. but i watched you girls every time you played . Ive already bought my tickets and made my best friend spend the 5000 dollars to the world cup next year so you girls better win im a three time arenacross world champ aka motorcycle racing indoors if you dont know what that is lol …go aussie girls

CS. Great game last night I salute you from Linz, Austria…

JJ. YOU win a fan girl!!! That is top quality pass and mind! Big kiss from portugal to YOU olimpic champions

DVD. Wow never seen you play before but you’re one hell of a player and a fantastic athlete.
Congrats to you and the girls…
Aussie Aussie Aussie

LM. Congratulations champions!!! In Rome we say “daje ragazze”, I’m your Italian fan, I love this sport and I love you!!!!!!

AB. Hi!
I’m just a french guy and I want to tell you this:
You’re beautiful and have amazing skill! Congratulation for the Gold !
I think i’m your best fan…
Enjoy your victory!
Kiss from France (and from me als )

TI. Congratulations!! It was amazing to watch you play!! You are so fast, smart and WONDERFUL

TP. Charlotte, you and the team deserve a huge congrats for claiming the gold in Rio. As a past Corinda lad, you are credit to all who know you.

MB. You are a star….it is great watching you and your Pearls teammates excel in Rio, thanks for the enjoyment.
Gold Gold Gold.
Well done

MAG. Felicidades por su victoria en Río. Saludos

JR. Congrats for that gold!!! Greetings from Argentina

PF. Congratulations Charlotte!!
I was cheering for you and your wonderful country!!
A big hug!
Paolo from Italy

ND. Great win against New Zealand for the Gold in Rio 2016 Rugby Sevens! Just like the Trans Tasman test between the Kiwis and Kangaroos! 🙂

MD. Awesome display by the ladies. I’ve never seen Ladies sevens before and I’m sold, best thing at the games so far. It took me 2 milliseconds to see that you Charlotte, are an awesome talent. Thank you for the great joy you have brought us Aussies.

DB. Hi how are you going?
I was wondering if you could link me to a site or a shop where I can buy a replica jersey from the Aussie team?
I’ve fallen in love with women’s Rugby 7s after following it in the Olympics!!! It’s fantastic to watch!!! A truly amazing sport and really want to get Tonegato’s jersey and wear it proudly.

RT. Fantastic game Charlotte. A GOLDEN Rugby Sevens Final.

ZB. Charlotte Caslick,, sincerely speaking ur my hero though ur a woman bt u inspire me soo much. I wish i were the king of the world, then i could crown u the player of the century. Wish u well my sister. — in Nairobi, Kenya.

YMK. J’ador Ké Une Femme Pratique Le Sport

AP. G’day luv!

I know you are busy busting your guts on the field to bring home gold, but I just wanted to say.
I have never had a massive interest in rugby, both men and women’s. But I stumbled across one of your games and boy oh boy! You have my full attention!
You make the game so much more enjoyable, fun, sexy and just beautiful when you play!
I’ve got my whole soccer team staying at my place tonight and we are getting up tomorrow morning go watch you guys smash it tomorrow morning at 3:30am! We don’t care about the time as long as we are watching you and all the other women on green and gold bring home a win!
So goodluck from my team, but a extra goodluck and round of applause for looking so gorgeous from me!

Go get them luv!

Having a wonderful game! 24-5 thanks to you! Keep going luv!

Congratulations! So proud. Got up at 3 this morning to watch all the games again, but this was the best one!


You are Australia’s new golden girl.

KH. Congrats Charlie and teammates! I am sure I have refereed you some yrs ago at Whites Hill. I knew rep touch players could make it in rugby. I only wish I was 20 yrs younger to mix it with you! Enjoy and may you girls play that well as a team for many yrs to come! Your coach is extremely astute! Bit like P.… B… (my Qld schoolgirls touch coach in 85 & 86!)

BG. Hey, awesome job today. Congratulations!. Never heard of you before the Olympics, but now everyone in my house, including my kids, knows you and the other girls. Brilliant work representing our country. Congrats again.

EM. Congratulations on a wonderful win, you played a brilliant game, for a very old rugby bloke it was fantastic to watch…… wishes to all the Pearls……….EM

PM. Hey charlotte your the best rugby player I’ve seen. Good luck with the gold medal match. Ill be watching. Good luck
Well done u smashed it

TS. I can’t stop watching the replay! This is probably a tiny message in the millions you have received, but I just want to congratulate you on all your success!

AT. Loved watching you play you are one tuff player and can read the game so well. Congrats on the gold had me on the edge of my seat. Enjoy the rest of the games.

TD. you are perfect
congrats from back home (I’m just a 15 year old kid that likes a bit of 7s)
thought it would be nice to send a message

JW. Hey im a friend of Sarah’s just wanted to congratulate you on your gold medal awesome effort. Everyone got to school early to watch it

AS. Hey Charlotte,
Been watching you from back in Oz, congratulations! You’ve done Australia proud!
Must admit saw you playing and instant fan you were amazing! In my mind best player there was.

RA. Hello Mlle CASLICK congratulation has you and your team for this beautiful victory in finale of olympics games

JA. Hello Charlotte un bonjour de France.
Bravo, super, génial congratulations.
Toutes mes félicitations pour cette médaille d’or de Rio. Un jeu magnifique, je me suis régalé.
Gros bisous, french kiss,

CMcHB. Awesome effort Charlotte. Congrats on the Gold. Go you good thing..! Blessings and keep safe.

EI. Huge congratulations Charlotte, to you and the rest of the girls. It was absolutely thrilling to watch all your games but the Gold medal match was brilliant

DE. That was bloody Awesome!! to watch

BD. What a great tournament for our team !!
Congrat’s, you’re the one, and for all of french supporter, the best player of this year..
French supporter, addicted by you

BR. Just wanted to send a short note to thank you for coming to St Bede’s yesterday. My daughter is in kindy and has talked of your visit with such joy since yesterday. We watched your matches during the Olympics but seeing you in her school was very special to I… Congratulations on your successful Olympics and for taking the opportunity to inspire others.

And in between these messages from people I didn’t know from Australia & abroad, there were the messages from people who were part of the journey, like this one:

DF. Congrats Charlotte you are an inspiration! The dream you had several years ago has come true! So proud of you!!

There’s not enough hours in the day to thank everyone for the messages of support they send. By sharing this little cross section of them, I hope everyone understands how much they mean to me and my team mates. You wouldn’t know it from the newspapers, but there are a lot of bloody good people in this world.

Rio 2016 – (an insight from Charlotte Caslick)

We recently asked Charlotte to share some insights into the lead up to the Olympic Games and the Olympic tournament itself. Here’s her behind the scenes thoughts and memories of the big show.


From immediately after the Rugby 7s World Cup in Moscow in 2013, Tim Walsh (Walshy) and Scott Bowen (Scotty) were working to a plan focused on putting a team on the field at Deodoro that could win gold. So in reality the selection process had covered a 3-year period, but for me it all came to a head in those weeks leading into the naming of the 12 players picked to be Australia’s first female rugby Olympians.

The World Series had ended for us in May on the back of a gentle reminder in France, from the Canadians, that medals and podium places were far from decided. After a quick break, we were back into preparation, including a series of games against the Japanese. This was part of the selection process and Walshy selected 16 girls for a training camp in Darwin. It was starting to get very real.

You’d have thought that having been selected to play in every World Series tournament and a World Cup since my debut in Amsterdam in 2013, except for being rested from the Canadian leg earlier in the year, would have given me a sense of confidence about making the cut to be named in that final 12. It didn’t. It was daunting and was more so as the weeks to the team announcement counted down. All of those tournaments had been my chance to secure a spot for this one big tournament.

After the Darwin training camp, I felt I had trained well and was comfortable with my position in the team. My body was feeling really good as well. I started to feel confident that I had done enough to be selected. With that feeling, exciting is the only way I can describe the day we found out which of us would be in the team. I felt ready and excited that the real job we turned up to do in January 2014 was now about to start.

Walshy told me the good news and I rang my mum. She was with the rest of my immediate family and had me on speaker as I delivered the good news. One of my brothers said, in an unenthusiastic voice, ‘why did you even ring to tell us, we knew you would be in the team’. It is nice that their faith in me never waivers, but I also know it’s not blind faith. An honest assessment of any of my performances is always very close to home!

Once that immediate excitement passed and I got the feet back on the ground, the impact of that day on others dawned on me. It was difficult to get past the contrasting emotions that two players in particular would have felt.

Tiana Penitani had overcome a series of injury set backs, was pretty much always in the ‘touring’ 12 when fit and put herself firmly in the frame for selection, but she missed the cut for the Olympic 12. We had played against and with each other since our senior year of high school. I felt for Tiana, I could have been walking in her shoes.

On the flip side of emotions was Gemma Etheridge who had made a miraculous recovery from an ACL injury sustained in training just 3 months prior. You just had to be really happy for Gemma knowing what she had sacrificed and how hard she worked to get back into good form so quickly after such a serious injury. It’s players like Gemma that remind you that the love of the game can outweigh every hardship.

Almost an Olympian

With the emotion of that day behind me, I could now almost call myself an Olympian, but being given our uniform was probably the moment that everything started to feel real. Trying the Olympic uniform on with my team mates was a lot of fun, but it also unleashed the nerves.

The day we left for Rio it felt like any other tour departure day, but there was a bit of a change up in that we got to fly premium economy for the first time ever. That was a great experience and did wonders for our bodies to get a bit of extra room! AND we were on a plane amongst other Australian athletes from all different sports. Oh, and Walshy turned up to the airport with a fake tan.

We landed in Rio and drove straight to our training camp facility. We had been told that the athletes in the village had left due to unfinished rooms. Our original plan was to stop by the village for a few days. Prior to leaving for Rio, Walshy had told us to expect the unexpected once we got there. He practiced a lot of scenarios with us to help prepare for anything that may come our way. He called them ‘curveballs’. The Olympics throws curveballs. Rio throws curveballs.

The training facility was a beachside resort called Portobello. The people were lovely, the beach was beautiful and to the delight of the men’s sevens team, the Dutch hockey girls were also staying there!

We trained very well while we were there and everyone was in great spirits.

One evening we had a team meeting before dinner that reviewed every team we would possibly play; every player in those teams; every set piece. It took hours. The girls were hungry, grumpy (known as hangry) and sleepy which resulted in some pretty funny responses, or non-responses, that we can laugh about now with the benefit of hindsight. At the time though, for me, it was a critical moment in our preparation. It was a moment of clarity, I was focused on every detail Walshy was talking about, storing everything I could to memory. Again, with the benefit of hindsight, in the grand scheme of things, that hour less sleep was a fair trade for a gold medal!

We moved from Portebello to the athletes village and that’s when the excitement really ramped up. We had a 3-bedroom apartment. It’s good being Emilee Cherry’s (Chez) roommate for a number of reasons, but especially when her seniority entitles you to the biggest room. We are always roommates. Our unrivalled sleeping ability within the squad makes us perfect travel companions.

Training continued to be sharp. Everyone was ‘on’. One session, we arrived while the Kiwi boys were training and they looked well into their session when we showed up. We were in and out before they got off the pitch. We were so clinical that we didn’t need to waste time in the heat when we didn’t have to.

Two days before game day I was receiving treatment from our physio, Claire, and as you do, was scrolling through Instagram. I came across a post from ‘rugbycomau’ that said Chez wasn’t a sure thing to play because she had picked up an injury during the week and hadn’t been cleared to play yet. I freaked out and showed Claire. She wasn’t even aware of an injury that was possibly ruling Chez out of the biggest moment in her career. Claire ran down stairs to Walshy, concerned that someone had leaked information to the press that wasn’t true. She was right and turns out it was Walshy who was the culprit. Part of his strategy for relieving pressure apparently, but not sure who he thought was getting the relief, it certainly wasn’t Claire or I!

After treatment I went back to my room and saw Chez. She was as confused as me and had received phone calls from distressed family members and friends. Turns out it didn’t distract us, but definitely scared Claire and me. I know our game is about all 7 players and no one is irreplaceable. That ‘rule’ applies to everyone other than Emilee Cherry at an Olympic Games tournament. She is world class in all ways, ability, attitude & absolute determination to win.

I am an Olympian

It was Game Day!

As a group, we had opted in the early stages of our preparation not to march in the opening ceremony with our tournament scheduled to start on day 1.

There was this sense of belief among the girls that we were going to win a gold medal. I’m sure every team went in with the exact same goal but I genuinely saw no other option for us.

Game one we played Colombia. They’d only competed in one World Series tournament I think, so had little international experience. We beat them convincingly and our patterns of play seemed like clock work. Sharni Williams scored our first try, which was fitting. She’d been such an instrumental part of our set up for the last 3 years and getting Australia’s first ever try at an Olympics seemed like a nice reward for her. I remember being stoked when she scored it. I also remember running onto the Deodoro pitch and thinking ever so quickly to myself ‘now you are an Olympian’. That game against Colombia was special.

We then played Fiji in the second pool game and everything was falling into place nicely. The Fijians can be a team that once they have momentum they are hard to shut down. We were always in control and ending up beating them convincingly. I was personally starting to feel really good in that game, backing myself and felt as though it was one of those tournaments where I was able to find the try line. We finished day 1 feeling great and excited for day 2.

Day 2 was the most important. If you don’t get through your quarter you’re out of contention for a medal. We had USA in our last pool match on day 2. It turned out to be our shocker game for the tournament. Thank heavens it came at that point rather than later when it really matters. Walshy changed the combinations up a bit for the game. We were rusty and passes weren’t sticking. USA has game breakers like Javelet, Kelter & Folayan and they caused us a bit of havoc.

Although the result of this match didn’t matter, it definitely affects your confidence if you play badly and have to back up for a quarterfinal. I remember USA winger Victoria Folayan made a break and I was probably out of position at sweeper. As soon as she broke the line I started running towards her trying to cut off the angle. I didn’t think I’d catch her and I was still filthy about missing a tackle on her earlier in the game. Luckily I picked the perfect angle to cut her off and shut down her options. Now I just had to make the tackle! I did make the tackle, jumped up full of adrenaline and was fired up for the second half. The second half never came as I got taken off! The coach had gone into the match with a plan of saving our legs for the next 3 games and he stuck to that plan.

The USA scored early in the second half and held a 12-5 lead until with 5 seconds to go Chez made a break and was tackled a couple of metres short. Emma Tonegato, so often in the right place at the right time, was on hand to pick up the scraps and dive over for a great try. With time up, Chloe Dalton kicked the conversion to level up the score.

We had played pretty average so were lucky to get away with a draw but it showed the fight in the girls. The big QF was up next. We were facing Spain. 3 years earlier at my first Rugby 7s World Cup we played Spain in a quarterfinal and lost. After the buzzer. It was heart breaking! We also faced Spain in another important QF to win the World Series in France. Seems like a trend, but we’d got the Spanish monkey off our backs in recent times and it continued to script in that QF. I scored 2 tries against them and felt like I was in some of my best form ever.

Day 3. The semi final against Canada was tough but I always felt as though we were in control. Canada seemed to feel the pressure as we shut down some of their big game players. After the hooter went on that game I remember running to Chloe and Vani and screaming we’ve won an Olympic medal! We were guaranteed to either come away with a gold or silver. Gold was the only one we wanted though.


In the lead up to the final against NZ there was a special vibe amongst the group. There were nerves, excitement, suspense but a very overwhelming feeling of belief. We screamed out songs in the change room, Scotty flicked the light switches on and off creating a strobe light. Everyone was banging down the walls. ‘Hold back the river’, normally a very relaxing, cruisey song seemed to be the biggest pump up of all time. We’ve since tried to re-enact what happened in that dressing room but it’s never been the same. We can’t actually figure out how the song pumped us up. The singing and dancing calmed everyone’s nerves and then we headed out to warm up.

The warm up wasn’t perfect at all. We dropped balls, people were running the wrong lines and passes weren’t sticking. Yet the belief remained the same as it was 2 days ago. We ran out onto the field looking towards our family and friends in the northern stand. We were running towards them in the first half.

The first couple of minutes weren’t my best. We turned it over in our own half and gave NZ a great attacking opportunity. Shannon Parry made an incredible try saver on Huriana Manuel down the left hand side and took her in to touch. We went to a line out which I threw in crooked. It was really crooked. Really, really crooked and right in front of the Kiwi crowd! They won the scrum and ended up scoring through Kayla McAlister on the other side of the field. They kicked off…….. and I dropped it! Lucky it went backwards. From there I think I threw an outrageous offload that I’ve never done before. Made my brother proud I think!

From that point we seized control of the game. The tempo and the momentum all turned in our favour. Emma scored. Portia Woodman received a yellow card for deliberately knocking the ball down on a chance for us to score a second try. That was a huge play. Apart from the fact that Vani Pelite scored for us in the corner just after, to take us to a 10-5 lead at half time, Portia would not get back on to the field for almost 4 minutes. From the restart of the second half the ball stayed in play for almost 3 minutes before Chez & I combined to put Ellia Green away for a try to take us to a 17-5 lead.

Portia got back onto the field for the restart and she knocked on from the kick off. Everything was going our way and I scored soon after that error. Chloe nailed the conversion again and we were leading 24-5 with just over 3 minutes to go. From there I kept checking the timer on the scoreboard doing mental calculations to work out if we were safely in front. Against NZ with Portia Woodman and Kayla McAlister, you never feel safely in front.

Our defensive effort that night was outstanding though, in particular Chez who was like a brick wall. Kayla eventually scored one of her trademark individual tries with a minute and a half to go, but Tyla Nathan-Wong missed the easy (for her) conversion attempt. At 24-10 we needed to concede 3 tries in 60 seconds to lose and it was then that I was pretty sure we’d done enough. The Kiwis got the ball back and attacked our try line relentlessly. I just wanted someone to drop the ball or for one of our girls to win a turn over so we could hurry up and celebrate. Portia ended up scoring but it didn’t matter, the hooter had gone half a minute earlier. We had just won the first ever Olympic gold medal in rugby 7s! We wrote ourselves into Olympic history, we were no longer just Olympians, we were Olympic champions and had fulfilled the destiny that Walshy and Scotty had meticulously planned for us.


A perspective from the bush

This is a slightly edited version of a speech delivered at a Sport Council Award ceremony by a young Tribe7s player a few weeks ago. Names have been removed, not because anyone wanted to remain anonymous, but because I thought it told a generic story, it could be a story told by Alicia Quirk or Emilee Cherry or Georgie Friedrichs or in a city setting by Charlotte Caslick or Shannon Parry. It is a story about a young lady’s rise from age 12 to 18 in the sport we love and it touches to very core of what we set out to do three ‘long’ years ago. We had great senior players in Rebecca Tavo, Nicole Beck, Sao Saemo & Shontelle Stowers take some young pups under their wings 3 years ago and they helped them be better players. This player has unknowingly done the same job with an emerging group of even younger players. She was exposed to the expectations and standards set by the likes of Charlotte Caslick, Vani Pelite & Georgie Friedrichs and was able to bring those experiences back to share with a group of 15 & 16 year olds. Most importantly, it’s simply a story worth sharing.


My rugby career started at my rural New South Wales high school six years ago when I was introduced to the game by a passionate PE teacher. It was my first year of high school. It was here I was taught the fundamentals of the game and thrown straight into the open age team. My touch football background helped, but the fact you had a heartbeat was the main prerequisite for making the team.

I was a fresh-faced year seven student and my first game was at a gala day in Tamworth (for our international readers, Tamworth is Australia’s country music capital). I was put out on the wing and my mother was videoing the games, so everything that follows is consigned to digital archive as evidence. In one of the first tackles my jersey is ripped off and I am left standing there in my bra. Most of the frames immediately following were aimed at the sky and I thought mum was trying to protect me from further embarrassment. No chance, she could not contain her laughter and lost control of the camera. I composed myself deciding there and then that I am never playing this game again and came up with a strategy to deal with the there & then to get me through the tournament – I told myself, ‘if you get the ball just run as fast as you can, it is a far better option than being tackled.’ That’s what I did, we won the day and I managed to be top try scorer. Little did anyone know it was because I was too embarrassed to lose my jumper again.

So my love of rugby began there in Tamworth. I played every year at high school and was selected in the first North West Rugby 7s team. I was lucky enough to do that through to this year, when I captained our Open team to their first ever State championships win. The feeling of playing with those girls from year seven through to winning that championship is a memory I will treasure forever.

Last year whilst playing at a tournament on the Gold Coast, I was approached by Charlotte Caslick, Australian player and Rio Olympic gold medallist. She took my details back to the Australian management and I was also contacted to join the Tribe 7’s invitational Rugby side that tour the Australian and International circuit. They are a very highly regarded rugby team with the aim of developing future Olympians.

It is with Tribe 7s where my rugby has really been taken to another level, having the opportunity to play with elite players. I played numerous tournaments with them last season taking out Helensvale 7s, Lake Macquarie 7s, but the highlight being the Hottest 7s in the World, played in Darwin. Yes the name fits the extreme humidity which is something that really can’t be explained. I was given the opportunity to play alongside Charlotte Caslick who in my opinion is the best player in the world and Evania Pelite, both Rio Olympic gold medallists, also Mahalia Murphy, Taleena Simon and Georgie Friedrichs, all Australian contracted players. The experience and exposure was something that I will be forever grateful for. We took out this carnival undefeated with 297 points for and nil against.

The Tribe7s guys took a chance on a little unknown from the county by giving me this opportunity to be in this elite side and I cannot thank them enough for this. They said it was their philosophy to give young players the opportunity to play at the highest possible level with more experienced players, but you don’t believe it until it happens, especially when you come from a little town in north western New South Wales.

This year still with Tribe7s I was given the honour to captain their under 18s in my first overseas tournament in New Caledonia, where we took out the Noumea 7s final over a New Zealand team in the final. Touring and two day tournaments make rugby 7s a unique sport. It’s more than a sport, you become part of a big family with many shared experiences and lessons learned. Lesson one of international touring for me, whilst New Caledonia is extremely beautiful and the people are awesome, it is safer to drink bottled water. I will leave that one with you.

The friendships and bonds with the players on these tours is something special. At full time of the final, the Fijian girls ran out on the field in tears of joy to celebrate with us. We had taken a squad of 15 and 3 of our girls volunteered to play with the Fijians who were short of numbers. We left Australia with a squad of 15, we were now a squad of 24, all winners and a true testament to what is great about the game of rugby.

Last month I again was given the privilege to captain the Tribe7s under 18 side to win the Noosa International 7s. This was then capped off with the honour to be named Tribe7s Rookie of the Year at their annual presentation; icing on the cake to what I still can’t believe has been a whirlwind of a year.

I began my state representation playing for the NSW Youth team at Nationals last year in Wagga Wagga where we finished runners up to old enemies the QLD Reds. (I suppose I should call them frenemies now, such is the cross-border nature of the Tribe7s set-up.) I was then invited to join the NSW Blue Belle program where this year I will play in the open division under coach Nathan McMahon. I am currently staying in Sydney training with the squad in preparation before heading to Adelaide next weekend for the National Championships. The program gives country kids the opportunity to be exposed to the training program that is expected of an elite rugby player whilst still living in their home town under the guidance of a satellite coach.

I was selected earlier in the year to attend two development camps in Narrabeen as part of the Youth Australian squad. Here, I set myself my first goal of making the cut for the second camp. We were put through fitness testing, games, drills, psychometric testing, and nutritional lectures. After this, I received an email that I had made the second camp, and a new goal was set to make the final 12 with a seat on that plane to New Zealand. Whilst on the bus with my high school team mates, where it all started, after watching the Aussie girls win gold in Rio huddled around an iPad pulled over at a servo, I received a call and was told that I had made the final 12 to travel to New Zealand in December as part of the Australian Youth team to play in the World Schools 7s. Opportunities are given to people that work hard and I love the NSW selection criteria where they will take someone that works hard and backs up their team mates over someone with talent but is lazy. You can see that those values are shared in the Aussie 7s set up. I was lucky enough to train and play a few tournaments with Georgie Friedrichs. Her work ethic on and off the pitch is inspirational. Alicia Quirk’s attitude is legendary, she played every minute of the Olympic tournament. Both are country girls.

In my household laziness is not an option, both my parents, who are my greatest supporters, have been with me every step of the way. I have the advantage, or sometimes disadvantage, of having a fitness crazed mother who has me up training in rain, hail or shine. She thinks going on a holiday for a fun run is great, whilst my dad thinks fun and run should never be in the same sentence. We have worked side by side through all of this and I would not be where I am today without them both. Leaving work on Friday for a tournament in Brisbane or Sydney, driving hours, then back to work again, is done without a second thought. Success comes not only from hard work it also comes from the support team around you and I have been fortunate to have some very dedicated people in the area supporting women in rugby.

The pathways into women’s rugby are exceptional and it is only going to get better after the success of our women in Rio, so if you are considering taking it up I say give it a go, because no matter your limitations or excuses, opportunity is out there for those that want it.