After 10 years, the beauty of Perth’s beaches and the quality of the rugby talent finally has Rebecca Clough calling the west home.
Despite strong ties to the home of her childhood in Sydney, the youngest of four children followed her heart when her boyfriend moved to Perth 10 years ago and now feels that’s where her loyalties lie.
Very sporty as a kid, with a father and brother who both played rugby, Clough watched from the sidelines wanting to have a go, but instead was encouraged to look to the netball courts and soccer fields.
At high school though, she turned her hand, quite literally, to the little know sport of European Handball eventually representing NSW at the U18 National Championships before knee injuries had her reassessing her sporting options.Now a veteran of three Wallaroo World Cup campaigns, the 29-year old-reflects on the pull that rugby still had when she was finally able to get involved at the age of 18.
“Dad and mum were very surprised and not the most supportive,” Clough said.
“I remember Dad saying that girls don’t play rugby and I wanted to prove him wrong! Mum was more worried that I would hurt myself.
“But when I played my first game, they came to watch and changed their minds very quickly.”
As with most women in sport, Clough has a ‘day job’ - a career in the juvenile justice system about which she is passionate.
She manages to blend both her work commitments and her love of rugby, allowing her to follow the increased opportunities being offered by the new Buildcorp Super W competition.
She currently works at the courts which means regular hours and an easier fit for her new training regime.“I’m a Youth Custodial Officer (so) I work with young offenders - it’s a great passion of mine,” said Clough.
“I studied Criminology and Juvenile Justice at uni and I’ve always wanted to work with young people.
“I have seen kids go the wrong way, so I just wanted to help them.”
“I was lucky to be raised in such a beautiful family that loved and supported me, but I was a tough kid and through sport I was kept on the straight and narrow.”
As with many of her peers, rugby is a central focus for Clough but she admits to catching her breath occasionally in the simplest of ways.
"Rugby is the biggest part of my life – I don’t know what I’d do without it.
“(But) I do have two dogs and love going for walks on the beach, which are great over here.”
Her Wallaroos journey began in 2009, representing WA at the National Championships and leading to her selection in the Wallaroos squad
“I was such a youngster back then but was guided so well by some prominent players over here.”
Clough is very excited about the current evolution of the game for women.
“It’s a huge step up and there’s just so much more footy,” she said.
“Now it’s on the map and so exciting to see the media getting behind us – it’s wonderful.”