Walsh's warriors the hunters once more

by Sam Phillips

Having spent a season being the hunted, Tim Walsh's Australian Women's Sevens side are preparing to embrace the hunter role ahead of an enormous 2017/18 season.

The 2016/17 season was void of glory in comparison to a 2015/16 year which brought Olympic Gold and a World Series title.

New Zealand were the most consistent outfit of 2016/17 and that means Walsh's side are backed to being the hunters, a role he hopes they will thrive in with the World Series, Commonwealth Games and World Cup all peering over the horizon.

"We respect every opposition but we are now second in the world and New Zealand completely dominated," he told RUGBY.com.au.

"We're not the best in the world anymore so we are chasing.Preparations for the 2017/18 season are underway. Photo: QRU Media/Meggie Whitchurch"I know we have the talent and the mental application to get back up there.

"It's just a matter of resetting and freshening up.

"They've done that and now it's a matter of getting back out there and working hard."

The squad are spending the week in Queensland as the launch of their preseason, with a session at Ballymore today followed by trips to Toowoomba and Roma later in the week.

"Every decision we make is based around our performance," Walsh said.

"There is a double edged sword with that, we are here to train hard.Students from Miami High had the chance to meet their heroes today. Photo: QRU Media/Meggie Whitchurch"We have been at Narrabeen now for four years so it's good to get out and do something different.

"We have chosen here because we want to get back to the grassroots and where the girls have come from.

"There are a big contingent of Queenslanders, there are a handful from Brisbane, a heap of our gold medallists came from Toowoomba and Emilee Cherry is from Roma.

"We're taking it back to where the families and communities are - where they came from."

Walsh's squad will also use the inaugural Uni 7s series as part of their preparations for 2017/18.The squad will take preseason preparations to Toowoomba tomorrow. Photo: QRU Media/Meggie Whitchurch"We're in preseason so they're going to rock up there in heavy preseason," he said.

"Their role there is to perform and then to educate.

"Not only the players but the coaches as well - it's a great opportunity when you have four tournaments in a row - to build combinations, strategies, tactics, all that sort of stuff."

After that, the finishing touches will be applied to a squad eager to return to the top of the World Series tree.

"I wouldn't say that we were complacent (last season), it was more mental than anything - dealing with different pressures and coming off such a high," Walsh said.

"We cannot wait to get the season going - there is so much to play for this year."