The symbol that means the world to Wallaroos

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

It’s a symbol many Australians might take for granted, but the addition of an emu and a kangaroo means more than just a national icon for the Wallaroos.

The Wallaroos will wear the Australian coat of arms on their jerseys at the World Cup for the first time, after receiving federal government approval for the tournament.

While it might go unnoticed by many casual observers, adding the coat of arms to a uniform is no easy process and puts the Wallaroos in the same category as their Sevens and male counterparts.

Teams have to request approval for the use of the coat of arms through the Australian government and can only be given for one competition at a time.

Wallaroos captain Shannon Parry pushed for the change ahead of the 2014 World Cup but it was not able to be rubber stamped that time around.

The addition of the coat of arms will allows for players who are employed by the government the potential to apply for extra leave, something they would not be able to have without its inclusion.

The Wallaroos are leaving for Ireland today. Photo; Getty ImagesFlanker Mollie Gray and long-time Wallaroo Ash Hewson are among a handful of those who could potentially apply for that leave, lessening the financial burden of the team.

Though they don’t have to reach into their pocket to play in the World Cup, after more than $200,000 was raised for their campaign, many of the national players will be going without pay for the tournament.

Buildcorp principal Josephine Sukkar has also donated $1000 to each of the players.

Coach Paul Verrell said gestures like the coat of arms meant plenty to his squad, many of whom are still fresh to the national setup.

“They’re here to wear the Australian jersey, the Wallaroos jersey, it’s first time they’ll wear the coat of arms on that jersey in a World Cup,” he said.

“They’ll bring passion, they’re very, very proud to be there. They’re proud that they understand the Wallaroos history and what it’s taken to get them in that position.”

Parry is in a privileged position among the squad, one of three full-time Sevens players heading to Ireland, but said the sacrifice of some of their teammates showed the desire of the side.

“Not many would do that in the economy we’re in,” she said.

“These girls, this jersey means a lot. To be able to give up money to represent their country, they might only ever get one jersey.

“They're definitely full steam ahead and definitely want to make this country proud.”

The Wallaroos will face host nation Ireland in their opening World Cup clash, and Parry said the pressure would be all on their opponents.

“For us, all the pressure’s on them, we’ve got to get out there early, control the crowd and anything could happen,” she said.

“We’ve got a good team, good experience, we’ve got a great coaching panel that’s there to help us and guide us in the right direction.

“For us as players it’s about nailing those individual roles and nailing that opposite against you.”

The Wallaroos open their World Cup campaign against Ireland on August 10, kicking off 4am AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS.