‘I’m stoked he got to be there for it’: Late father a motivation for Wallaroos captain – Rugby.com.au

Posted: December 26, 2019 at 10:48 am

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She was referred to as "Amazing Grace" by Wallaroos coach Dwyane Nestor after scoring a Test hat-trick against Japan in Sydney but "amazing" is an understatement to how brave and courageousGrace Hamilton really was in 2019.

Amid captaining Australia in their four Tests against Japan and New Zealand, and helping the NSW Waratahs win their second Super W title, Hamilton was spending quality time with her father John, who died last month after a battle with cancer.

This year was tough because I knew that dad wasnt well and I knew we were going to go through that and I just wanted to play my best so he could see me do that, Hamilton said.

I know we talked about next year, playing rugby and he tells me what I should do and how I can be better so I just want to keep building that and building his legacy around rugby as well because he gave so much to that game and I just want to give as much as he did."

The former NSW Country Junior Rugby Union president was a towering figure in country rugby, who had a major influence in the game, including in establishing and developing sevens and girls' football in the central west of the state.

Hes never lost, and hes never forgotten, and hell always know Im playing and I cant wait for whats to come.

Deservedly, Hamilton was crowned the Buildcorp Wallaroos player of the year, fronting the Rugby Australia awards in Sydney just days after losing her father.

It was pretty special," she said.

That was a tough week for me but having my brother and sister there was just so lovely and its something Im just so lucky to have, is that family support.

They just support me in anything I want to do weather its rugby or off the field so that was really special for me its a testament to every single girl in that squad.

The 27-year old is now focused on having another stellar season in the green and gold but before she gets too excited about the expanded Test Series Hamilton and the Waratahs have some unfinished business.

For us we want to get that next level," she said.

I dont think that we hit our peak last year so we really want to step up our game and step up as individual players, but also as a team and play some good rugby so we can put a spectacle on and grow that support around Australia and around New South Wales.

I think our team could have performed better and we came off the field knowing that. Even though we got the win we knew that we were better than that win.

I think you learnt from a loss, but you also learnt from a win as well, so youve got to learn in every single area and thats important for us leading into this season.

While a good majority of the squad remains, the coaching ranks have changed with former assistant Campbell Aitken taking over the coaching duties from Matt Evrard.

The departure of former skipper Ash Hewson also leaves the door open for new leadership, something that Hamilton has cherished this year with the Wallaroos.

Its kind of something I havent really thought about yet, Hamilton said.

Its the biggest privilege you can have I think within the sport so for me to do that and to lead Australia out was probably the best moment in my life and in playing career especially, so its opened a lot of doors for me and Im so grateful for that.

We just came back into pre-season so were just about getting the group together and I think just putting our best foot forward leading into the Super W season in February.

Look, (Hewson) is a player that we will miss. She did a lot for us within our season but building into the future theres so many girls coming through and Ive never seen a squad this strong leading into the Super W.

With so many exciting prospects to look forward to, its the back end of the calendar that sets it apart for Hamilton with seven confirmed Tests to be played against higher ranked opponents.

Seven test matches, unheard of, and so excited, Hamilton said.

If the USA come over ... Ive never really played the USA. I did start playing over there, so Id love to play them, but I love a challenge and I love playing anyone.

I love playing the Black Ferns because I think we can be better and better and the more exposed to that kind of level of rugby the better were going to get.

We can compete, and weve got to compete for 80-minutes though, and thats something weve got to build leading into next year.

Australia is set to play in matchesagainst the US, Canada, France and England with two more trans-Tasman showdowns against New Zealand.

Originally posted here:
'I'm stoked he got to be there for it': Late father a motivation for Wallaroos captain - Rugby.com.au

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December 26th, 2019 at 10:48 am

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