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This jersey means the world to Grace!

This jersey means the world to Grace!

From Panuara to NSW Union Player of the Year. It’s a big feat, but it’s got Grace Hamilton’s name written all over it.

Grace has played Rugby Union professionally since 2016, though, this year has been her biggest yet; not only named in the Australian Wallaroos team, she was named Wallaroos Captain and NSW Waratahs Super W Player of the year.

Grace mentioned she began playing Rugby on a University exchange in the USA. Growing up with a Rugby loving family, funnily enough it was actually netball that Grace had a love for and excelled in. “The school I went to didn’t have netball, and I knew all of the rules for union, so I decided to play that instead, that brought me to where I am today.”

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Grace joined the Waratahs Super W team in 2014 and then in 2016, was selected in the Australian Wallaroos squad. “It’s been quite a whirlwind of a journey so far, but it’s been an exciting one. It’s different than every other sport I’ve played, the comradery and the friendships you make in the game is so important and the reason I keep playing, they are my family away from family. I’m the only one of my immediate family to live in Sydney so I lean a lot on my teammates in that regard.

“I was doing my last university assignment when my coach rang me and in a roundabout kind of way, slipped into the conversation that I was named Captain. It was quite shocking and surreal, I am so thankful for the opportunity, it’s not something that I ever thought would happen to me. I didn’t even think I’d be playing rugby so for me to be in this position, to be able to captain Australia, it’s pretty special.

I ended up calling my Dad, he was out cutting wood and he was pretty happy. Grace said, “This Jersey means the world to me, I’m honoured to be given the opportunity to wear the green and gold. The best thing about it is every single girl has the skill set to be there, you’re all doing your job, you’re working hard, and you’re working hard for each other. I remember looking up into the stands at our first home game and all I could see was my family, they got into the dress ups wearing a sea of yellow jumpers and wigs, it’s a pretty special feeling.”

Grace ensures past players and coaches over the years have really helped her to be her best and really took her to the next level helping her to believe in her own talents.

“We had a fan day not long ago and one of the girls said to me, ‘I’m going to be wearing that jersey with you one day’ and I said yeah you will! To be someone that the younger generation aspires to be like or become their role model, that’s pretty special, I didn’t really have that when I was growing up,
women in sport have come such a long way, it doesn’t matter the team, the sport, any shape and/or size, we are doing great things.

Grace was only recently named as NSW Waratahs Player of the Year, as you can expect, she is completely humble about it, even admitting her late entrance to the award ceremony with a laugh. “That was exciting for me, I never thought I would get an award and its completely a testament to the girls in that team, we all look out for each other and I feel like the award that I received the entire team deserves that.”

For now, Grace has to keep her mind on the next challenge in the Bledisloe double header test, taking on the All Blacks this weekend in Perth, as well as building to the 2021 World Cup.

“It’s a special sport that I am very privileged to be a part of, I’m just the country girl who dreamt big.” A true force to be reckoned with, good luck Grace!

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