Super W: State swap pays off for Treherne

Super W
by Jill Scanlon

Rugby has been in the Treherne family before Queensland's Buildcorp Super W star Samantha was born, but she was still a relative latecomer to the sport.

Treherne's parents met at Footscray rugby club and it was a regular destination for Samantha as a child, but with no women's rugby, she didn't take up the sport until much later on.

“My dad became president and we were always there as little kids,every weekend or training nights with the men but it wasn’t big for women, so I didn’t take much interest in it," she said.

“Then it kicked off.”

Accepting an offer to head to the annual Darwin Sevens tournament with a Melbourne team opened the door to nationals and put Treherne on her rugby pathway, at 19.

Though she hadn't played much, her upbringing certainly gave Treherne a good foundation in rugby.

“It was more because I had always been around the rugby club and I’d picked up passing and running and had a good understanding of the game," she said.

Samantha Treherne has set the Super W alight. Photo: WalmsleyTreherne’s talent is clear to see when she has the ball in hand and her time in Melbourne was valuable in building the foundation for her skills, but it eventually became clear to her that to progress further she needed a different rugby environment.

“I was advised to move interstate to Sydney or Brisbane if I wanted to develop more,” she said.

“I had met a couple of people from the Sunnybank club in Queensland when they were in Melbourne at a tournament and I knew the coaches through the Aussie XVs development program as well.”

So Treherne packed her bags and hit the road heading north.

By linking up with Sunnybank she also consolidated her connection with club coach and Wallaroos assistant Moana Virtue.

“As soon as I got up there she was making sure I was okay and welcoming me to the club and all the girls are so good, considering I have no family there. So it was a good move," she said.

The move could not have been better timed with the emerging development paths such as the AON Uni 7s competition and now the Super W series, something Treherne believes is a game changer.

Treherne isn't looking back after moving her life to Queensland. Photo: Walmsley“Probably one of the biggest things is we don’t have to pay to travel or pay to compete representing our state,” she said.

“In Melbourne when I was down there, we lost a lot of girls that just said no because they didn’t want to pay a certain amount of money to represent their state.

“Sevens has done amazing things for growing the sport but this is really what XVs needed and with the media attention as well.

"It has shown that anyone can play and it’s becoming a more professional sport – it’s not there yet, but it’s getting there.”

Treherne says all the women understand that it’s full steam ahead for now and there’ll be time to rest when the opportunities present themselves.

“The coaches are really supportive and they understand that we’re not professional athletes; we’re up in the morning training, working, then training again at night,” she said.

For Treherne, the momentum has rolled on from 2017 when she proudly wore the green and gold, but she understands that it is a matter of taking the opportunities when they arise.

“I haven’t really wound down. Coming back from New Zealand and from the World Cup, we went straight into the AON Uni 7s and then Nationals and then the SuperW got announced – so it’s all been back-to-back,” she said.

She admits to missing her family when she does take time to catch her breath but has a bit of a laugh when she points out that due to their jobs, they’re able to make the trip north quite often.

“They’re teachers so the amount of school holidays they get means they’re always up here.

“I’m thankful that my mum and sister get up when they can and mum is always just a phone call away.

“She’s my biggest support and I know if I didn’t have her it would be a lot harder – so I’m very thankful.”

Treherne also speaks with pride about her sister Jessie, who is also heavily involved in rugby on and off the field at both club and Rebels level, recalling her being named the HSBC Young Volunteer of the Year in 2014.

While the launch of the Super W series has been a major step forward, Treherne admits it also means the competition for Wallaroos spots is even tighter with the development of talent – both emerging and experienced – pushing all the players to perform at their best.

“The good thing about the Wallaroos is that when have these competitions now, it’s the first time that we’re not being assessed off just one weekend – it’s over six weeks.”

“There are so many new girls coming through plus the older faces who have a lot of knowledge of the game that are all willing to fight for a spot - which is (ultimately) good for improving Aussie rugby.”

Queensland's women face NSW in the Super W final on Friday April 20, kicking off at 4:45pm, LIVE on FOX SPORTS. Buy tickets here.