Super W: Netball tragic on cusp of Queensland women's debut

Super W
by Emma Greenwood

Tessa Vaoga is just one example of how the Super W competition is winning over sports-loving women.

A netball tragic who had not touched a rugby ball until just over two years ago, Vaoga is on the cusp of making her Super W debut for the Queensland Women's XV against the Brumbies at Ballymore on Saturday.

A self-proclaimed "late bloomer", Vaoga only took up rugby in 2016 but she quickly made the transition from netball and is set to make her debut on what could be a huge day for her Brisbane-based club GPS.

Jeeps will take the field after Queensland's Super W clash against the Brumbies to play Sydney Uni for the Australian club championship.

"It's pretty exciting having a potential debut, especially having it with the big Jeeps event on, so it's pretty special and I hopefully get a run out there," Vaoga said.

 

While netball is technically a non-contact sport, Vaoga was used to the push and shove that came with being a circle defender attempting to stop the opposition's best shooters.

And she loves the physical nature of rugby.

"I played netball all my life and it was not until 2016, I was supporting my partner playing down in country NSW and then all of a sudden a girls team started and a girls team started.

"They said: 'jump in', and I did and here we are," Vaoga said.

"It definitely is a contact sport, netball (so I'm used to that).

"But there's a lot of basic skills from netball that I bring on to the field - footwork and things like that - so I think it was a pretty easy transition coming from a non-contact support, supposedly, to footy."

Playing at club level is one thing though and Vaoga admits she has felt as though she's been out of her depth at times since making the Queensland women's squad.

"I didn't know what to expect. I had no idea that I would make it this far," she said.

"Making it to the extended squad was pretty big for me and then making the 30, that was even bigger.

"I had a lot to work on mentally to prepare myself for what I was getting into, but we're still here, so I guess that is a good sign."Queensland women's players Tessa Vaoga (left) and Georgie Friedrichs, along with GPS forward Fred Burke and UQ's Jack Campbell ahead of a massive day of footy at Ballymore on Saturday. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan Hertel

Queensland are determined not to suffer a lapse in intensity despite their heartbreaking three-point loss to NSW last week and while they have made several changes for the clash against the Brumbies are determined to finish the regular season on a high.

"Especially coming from a narrow loss last week, I know the girls are pretty pumped to put in all we've got this week and not just taking it as an easy game," Vaoga said.

"None of the games are easy games but we're going into this week with 100 per cent (effort) and hopefully that shows in the results."

Queensland Women's XV take on the Brumbies at Ballymore on Saturday, March 16, kicking off at 6pm AEDT (5pm local), with the match streamed live on RUGBY.com.au and broadcast on Kayo Sports.