Super W: Korovata embracing rugby journey

Super W
by Jill Scanlon

Anna Korovata immersed herself in netball throughout her childhood, running around a court until she was 17 and even trying her hand at coaching for the next two years.

She never gave a moment’s thought to rugby despite being a part of a family which has rugby in its veins.

Korovata’s father, Niumaia, played three Tests for Fiji in the early 1990s and she has cousins (male) who all run around the rugby field.

But, as Korovata is quick to point out, she and her sisters are the only girls on her father’s side of the family and her protective dad was none too happy when she announced she had found a new sporting passion.

Henry Speight  and David Pocock present Ana Kovotova with her match day jersey. Photo; Walmsley“He was NOT pleased!," Korovata laughed.

“We were never meant to play contact sport, according to my dad.

“I think he always had us wrapped in a blanket and said men played rugby. He wanted me to stick with my netball and see where that took me.”

The 21-year-old had left her family home in regional NSW in 2015 when she moved to Canberra to study nursing.

Making new friends in the big city lead to an invitation to try rugby and at the age of 20 she became the first female in her family to play.

“(In) my first year of rugby I had an amazing coach who taught me how to play, all the basics, and then I think I just fell in love with the people I met and the sport, and I found a whole new passion,” Korovata said.

She admits to being someone who does not back away from a challenge and who loves the learning aspect of a new sport.

“In rugby you’re always learning different things, different players play different ways and I think it challenges me in a different way to netball - I love being around it and learning new things.”

Ana Kovotova all focus in training. Photo: WalmsleyPlaying in the regular season for the Uni-North Owls (ANU), Korovata is enjoying the competitive step up to the Super W and the guidance in the Brumbies squad from those more experienced.

“We have veterans like Louise Burrows and Shellie Milward and other Wallaroos like Kate Brown and Violeta Tupuola and we have a Black Fern in Charlene Gubb – there’s so much knowledge there," she said.

“We also have Level 3 coaching staff and the strength and conditioning coaches are amazing.

“It’s definitely the most exciting thing to happen to me.”

As for her dad, she says despite some lingering hesitation he still offers her advice on aspects like running with the ball and tackling but in describing him as having been a ‘speedy little winger’ and her a prop, she points out they’re focus on the field is from very different perspectives.

Many of the players at this level have spoken about the incredible support received from their workplace and Korovata is no different.

Juggling her rugby commitments, her nursing studies and shift work, she says the staff on the Aubrey Tow Ward at the John James Calvary Hospital have been great.

“My work has been amazing, I have the best nursing unit manager and the best nurses in charge. They have been so accommodating.”

Having made the move to Canberra for her studies, Korovata underlines the importance of the social aspect of her new rugby journey have formed relationships with those she now considers her closest friends.

“All my close friends here in Canberra are through rugby and I’m very thankful I’ve met so many.”

NSW will host the Super W final, against Queensland, at Allianz Stadium on Friday April 20, kicking off at 4:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS. Buy tickets here.