For the last two hours I’ve sat with a million thoughts running through my head. The phone rings; I pick it up; it’s my parents; I tell them the news, I’m a Wallaby.
It’s May and I’d just finished training, when my coach approached me with the news I’d been selected for the 2014 Wallabies squad. I remember the day so vividly because it’s the day I finally achieved my childhood dream.
Selection into the Wallabies is very competitive and based on both your individual performance and that of your team. It’s something I’m very aware of when I run on to the field.
Recently, I read a statistic that said you can only become an expert at something after thousands of hours of practice and I have to agree. Getting to this day was the culmination of many hours of hard work, practice and training, starting the day I joined the Under 7’s Wahroonga Tigers rugby team.
Along the way I was fortunate to have the support of my family who encouraged me to try harder and not let Cystic Fibrosis get in the way of my ambitions. On the field I had many great coaches and support network – something that continues today with Michael Foley and the Western Force. With the coaching and support came a lot of practice and I spent many hours each week running to build my fitness, throwing a rugby ball around my backyard, at trees and even at a basketball hoop to perfect my lineout.
Turning up at my first day of training with the squad was like turning up at my first dance; I was very nervous! But the nerves didn’t last for long with the team quickly making me feel at ease.
If you were asked what day has been the proudest day of your life what would you say? For me, it’s 14 June 2014, in Melbourne, when I pulled on the green and gold jersey, ran out in front of supporters, family and friends at Etihad Stadium and beat the French 6-0.
This amazing high came to an abrupt end when, during my fourth game and up against the All Blacks in Brisbane, I tore my pectoral muscle from the bone during a scrum. I was gutted.
Playing a sport like rugby can lead to injuries and it when it happens it’s heart wrenching. The time off from playing does give you an opportunity to reflect on your strengths, weaknesses and to re-evaluate your goals; this is what I’ve been doing.
As the year draws to a close I’m recovering well and I should be fit to take on the Waratahs at Allianz Stadium in February for the first match of the season.
I look forward to seeing you all there!