All in the family for Aussie women

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The families of Australia’s women’s sevens side played an extra special role in their Olympic preparations this week.

Parents and relatives of each player presented their jerseys on the eve of their inaugural Olympic outing.

Emma Tonegato, who scored three tries as Australia completed a day one shutout against Colombia and Fiji, said it was an emotional lead-in to the tournament.

“It was a massive surprise, there was a lot of tears and you could see how much it meant to all the parents giving us the jerseys and for us to get them it was just amazing,” she said.

“It really means a lot having them here and knowing they've got our backs.”

Emma Tonegato scored three tries on day one. Photo: AFPAustralia’s only pre-tournament concern was that of Emilee Cherry’s hamstring and the superstar put to bed any doubt with a runaway try against Fiji in their second game of the day.

The 2014 World Player of the Year said she was completely confident in the muscle after their undefeated opening day.

“I've had few injuries throughout my life so the physios did a great job to get me back on the field and I'm really confident in it now,” she said.

Cherry said the Olympics hadn’t felt much different to their World Series campaign, with enjoyment the overriding priority.

“We've taken the week really relaxed and we’re  just keeping everything as normal as possible and today we really enjoyed ourselves and we play better when we're relaxed and enjoying ourselves,” she said.

“It was really good going out there and playing Colombia and getting all our plays sorted and that definitely gave us confidence going into that Fiji game.

“We saw them against USA and they were just so physical so we knew we had all our plays down pat and our patterns working really well, we just had to lift up defensively and our physicality of the game.”

The Aussies didn’t seem to have any problems with matching the Fijians physicality as they competed a 36-0 victory over the Island nation to secure their quarter-final spot.

Australia takes on USA at 2:30am Monday morning (AEST) and will play the eighth-placed team overall in their quarter-final at 6am (AEST).