Wallaroos need time and support: Gray

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallaroos backrower Mollie Gray says time is what the side needs to mount a serious World Cup challenge.

The Australian side arrived home from New Zealand last week, after a 2-0 series loss to the Black Ferns.

“We’ve got nine months and I think one of the main things we need is time, time together,” she said.

“We had a lot of media backlash and a bit of negativity our team but if our team has a positive attitude and the community has a positive attitude that can really build up the team.”

Set piece will be a major focus for the Wallaroos. Photo: Getty ImagesThe Wallaroos’ series against the Black Ferns was the side’s first Test outing in two years and with a World Cup looming, Gray said she hoped there would be more chance for the squad to train together outside of formal competition.

“You can’t expect a team who has just got together to get a win against the best team in the world,” she said.

“There is a lot in the works with what we have planned for next year. Before nationals I’d love to see us get together, have weekend away, build on our skills but our team culture as well. Hopefully we might be able to go to Ireland [for the World Cup] early.”

The Wallaroos enjoyed the chance to get on to Eden Park. Photo: ARU MediaThe Wallaroos’ two losses were worlds apart in New Zealand, with an opening 67-3 defeat a blow to the Aussies, though just four days later, the team cut that margin in half, in a 29-3 loss that Gray said had more upside.

“After the first Test, there was a lot of us that stayed off social media....what they don’t realise is that we have  full-time jobs, we've got mums in our team and many of us work every day and then have to find time to train.

“Last Saturday was pretty devastating -I felt it a lot - I was pretty emotional and sat there for quite a while just absorbing everything that had happened.

“We are absolute Aussie battlers so we’re not going to stop fighting and it was good to see that even though we did lose, there was a positive attitude.

“We can only build from here and the girls have had a taste of Test rugby now.”

Buildcorp Principal Josephine Sukkar used last week’s John Eales Medal to call for more support for the women’s XVs, which has been overshadowed in some ways by the success of the women’s sevens side.

Sukkar’s company became the team’s first name sponsor this season and she urged others to join the cause, with sponsorship a key driver for the Wallaroos, who all work full-time jobs or study outside of playing.