A year is a long time in football. Just ask the Amosa family.
At last year’s Christmas lunch, Brandon Paenga-Amosa was still an aspiring NRC hooker yet to make his Super Rugby debut and younger sister Katalina – about to start year 12 – had only played her first game of rugby that year.
Fast forward a year and Christmas, 2018, will be even more festive for Amosa clan, with both Brandon and Kat to finish the year as Australian rugby representatives.
After Brandon not only made his Reds debut in February but also went on to win selection for the Wallabies in June, 17-year-old Kat will make her national debut on Friday for the Australian schoolgirls sevens team.
The Aussie girls will take part in the World School Sevens tournament in Auckland on Friday and Saturday.
“When I got the call it was amazing, I was like I couldn’t believe it at first and just to be able to get this opportunity to represent Australia, it’s my first squad … it’s been an amazing process this year just slowly been making my way up the ranks,” Amosa said.
“Mum and Dad were so stoked about it, they were very excited and at the time, Brandon was overseas and so when I eventually got to him, he was really happy for me.
“So to be able to represent Australia just as he did, that makes it even more special for our family and our last name.”
Two Amosas debuting for in the same year is an incredible achievement, and unsurprisingly, the siblings have leant on each other for advice and inspiration in their journey to wearing green and gold.
“It hasn’t been easy for the both of us but we both got there in the end and to be able to say that we both had ties to Australian rugby, it’s really exciting and it’s a journey that we’ll both remember and 2018 was a good year for us,” Amosa said.
“You can rely on your siblings to just give that feedback and especially with him being at the high level, I was able to ask him about not only the physical side but the mental side especially.
“Just playing with women it’s a different ball game but to be able to have him to push me on and he sends me messages before tournaments and training to always push hard and always to do my best.
“It’s just amazing to have him support me. I guess I could support him however I can as well.”
There aren’t many brother-sister siblings who have played for Australian in rugby but the Amosas follow in the footsteps of Matt and Kristy Giteau, and Charlotte and Sam Caslick.
Kat Amosa, who had previously played netball while growing up, is no stranger to top level competition having played for Macquarie Uni Rays in the AON Uni sevens comp this year.
“In my debut for Macquarie Uni, (Brandon) was watching live and he rang me and he was able to give me feedback in areas that I wasn’t dominant in and he was able to give me some little pointers and it really helped me in the long run,” she said.
For Kat, who plays club footy for Southern Districts, it was a big step up from youth to the senior competition.
However, she has learnt from her experiences and will look to share her knowledge with the youth team.
“I think the professional side of it, not only the playing but the build-up and how we warm up and how we prepare ourselves in weeks advance, it’s very different to how youth is,” Amosa said.
“To be able to work around that environment and as I said before not only physically but mentally, the girls are in game mode four days before the game, which I’m probably not as used to.
“So to bring that back into youth It was really good for me to develop as a player and also as a person.”
The Australian Schools Sevens girls team also contains rising sevens star Jakiya Whitfield from MacKillop College, Bathurst.
Amosa is expecting the tournament to be tough but she is looking forward to the challenge of taking on arch-rivals New Zealand.
“(It’s going) to be very physical that’s what I’m definitely expecting, they’re going to be strong around that ruck area and in defence they are going to be dominant in their tackles and very strong. I’m very excited and I can’t wait,” Amosa said.
The Under 18’s World Series Sevens event will be held at Pakuranga Rugby Club in Auckland and will see Australia in Pool E against Japan, Cook Islands and NZ Dutch.