Super W: Fagan hits the road for Force opportunity

Super W
by Jill Scanlon

The current equation is simple for Western Force player Anne Fagan – grab all the opportunities available to play rugby and see how far you can go.

The 30-year-old was born in the small coastal town of Denmark, over 420 kms south of Perth and as far from the notion of rugby that an Aussie girl can perhaps get.

Despite her age and the nine-hour round trip to the WA capital from her home now in Albany, she is determined to play this sport to which she had no connection until her mid-teens.

With limited sporting options around town for a young kid, Fagan played some soccer and footy (AFL) at school.

“I always enjoyed playing footy and running around the yard with my dad with the ball but there wasn’t a lot of sports in Denmark,” she said.

Fagan discovered rugby through an introduction to it by friends who played at a club in Albany, less than an hour to the east.

Anne Fagan travels hundreds of kilometres for a crack at Super W. Photo: WalmsleyAt 16, she started going to training but was unable to enter the field of competition until she was 18.

The Albany club folded after just six years and with that the region was left bereft of any rugby.

It was only when word started circulating about the serious development of competitive women’s rugby that Fagan decided to make another attempt to play the game for which she had developed a passion.

She joined the Palmyra Club in Perth for the 2017 season and when the new national Super W format was announced, she laid herself down a challenge.

“There’s no rugby down here so it’s the only place I can play – in Perth – and I wanted to do it,” Fagan said.

There is now a local Touch association in Albany in which Fagan participates for fun, but she prefers to play the full version of the game.

Many would say she had left her run too late, but she is determined to pursue her dream of a career in rugby.

Her challenge is to follow this dream while she can and see where it takes her.

“Apart from the fact I want to play, I think at this point it’s mainly my age – either I do it now or I don’t.”

Having the passion to pursue this dream is one thing, but the logistical reality is nine-hours of driving every time she needs to invest in the team environment and structure.

“It definitely takes its toll. I find that it puts a strain on things and I find it hard to get into the right frame of mind to train and play because of the travel – but personally I think it’s worth it,” Fagan said.

Anne Fagan at Force training. Photo: WalmsleyWhile she has considered upping sticks and moving north to the capital, it would be a major investment in her rugby future – one she is willing to make – but she needs to get through her first season to see if there is longevity in pursuing this dream.

“I made the decision to stay where I am for this season just because of the uncertainty and because I don’t know what’s going to happen next season.”

The attraction of life in her corner of the continent is easy to understand.

“I live near the beach and I spend most of my time there when I can -  I surf, I fish, I dive.”

Working in the town’s general store, she is appreciative of the strong support she gets from her boss, Malcolm Parsons, himself a former rugby player from Queensland.

While the ultimate dream would be Wallaroos selection, Fagan knows that competition for spots is tight and just wants to play rugby for as long as she can, at the highest level she can.

“At the moment it’s all about rugby.

“More time on the field is really what I’m after. So whatever it takes to enable me to play I’ll be happy to do.”

While enjoying beach life and all that remote coastal living has to offer, Fagan is determined to follow whatever pathways are being created in pursuit of her rugby dream.

The Western Force women take on the Brumbies women on Saturday at Canberra Stadium, kicking off at 5pm AEST, 3pm AWST. The match will be shown on FOX SPORTS at 10pm AEST, with a replay available on after the telecast. Entry will be $5 at the gate.