Walking with Wallaroos - Why wearing gold still brings a tear of joy for Rugby WA star Mhicca Carter

Womens International
by Iain Payten in Japan

If a picture tells a thousand words, a single tear has got that covered. It can speak volumes.

So it proved with Rugby WA star Mhicca Carter, anyway, in the latest in the “Walking with Wallaroos” profile interviews.

Carter, who has starred for the west Aussies in the Super W for the past two years, showed the extent of lasting emotion attached to playing for the Wallaroos when she spoke to RUGBY.com.au recently.

Carter came to Australia eight years ago from New Zealand, and though she played club rugby for Cottosloe and state rugby for WA for many years, she had to wait three years for her Wallaroos eligibility to clear.

When that finally elapsed and Carter was picked to make her Australian Test debut in 2018, it was a highly emotive moment for the 29-year-old fullback. And it remains so.

When answering a question about what the moment felt like - nine months later - a tear rolled down Carter’s cheek.

"Amazing, crazy. Very honourable,” Carter said. 

"All those years that we fight to achieve the goal that we’ve had, you know for me it was unbelievable. So it’s an absolute honour to be where I am.

"Those moments of thinking about all of the people who have supported me, the people that have invested in my career and coach me through all sports. For me it was a reflection time, just being present in that moment was really special. So you know to be a Wallaroos was something that I think a lot of women would dream of. So I am really honoured.”

Carter was a junior athlete of promise back in New Zealand, playing age-group basketball and touch football for her country.

When her brother came over to Perth to play rugby in 2011, however, Carter followed and settled in WA, too. She went on to meet and marry her husband Jeff, and now calls Australia home.

“My brothers have inspired me all my life to play rugby and with him being in Perth, playing for a club there influenced me to come and live with him in the ‘land of opportunity’ I could call it,” Carter said.

"I played a bit of club rugby in New Zealand back in Marlborough, which is where the passion begun.

"I have gone away and played a bit of netball but I have come back to rugby I really missed it those years that I didn’t play. 

Mhicca Carter had a first-half double. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"Playing in Western Australia I found a really awesome club called Cottesloe, and I was really welcomed by such an amazing club and that is what sparked that love again for rugby. 

"I played basketball a bit for New Zealand and I also played touch for New Zealand team as a teenager. So I had the skill from touch which has really helped me developed for rugby and has transferred really well for my rugby.”

With speed and skill, Carter was soon recognised as a special talent in the WA women’s club rugby community.

She played in the nationals for WA but having to wait three years to gain eligibility stopped her progressing further, and then a lack of Tests for the Wallaroos didn’t help either.

“That was really hard. I remember going home in tears thinking that I wasn’t good enough,” Carter said.

"But those years were incredible for me because they sparked a fight in me to progress and want to get to a level that I knew I was capable of. 

"But I was restricted by legalities and I think that that really filled something in my heart and really made me fight and made me train really hard."

Australia is one of two countries bidding for the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup. Photo: Getty ImagesThe arrival of Super W in 2018 allowed Carter’s brilliance shine. She was an outstanding attacking force for the Force (now known as Rugby WA women) and was picked for the Wallaroos to play against the Kiwis in August.

Carter says Super W has been a “brilliant” competition to help develop women’s rugby, particularly in WA.

"It is something that you actually have, that you can see in front of you that you can train for that you know there is a competition there,” she said.

"We’ve got young 16/17 year olds that are potentially ready to play Super W level but they are just waiting, they are waiting for that time to pass. So hopefully in the next few years we are going to have some great talent coming through Western Australia."

Carter's form has continued to be strong in 2019 and she is a front runner to wear the no.15 jersey for the Wallaroos in their two-Test series against Japan next month.

"For me personally I think that my attributes to the game is probably my speed and the way that I can kind of see space. The way I want to play, I want to be an attacking fullback. So I love that freedom to just see a space and go,” she said.

WALLAROOS 2019 FIXTURES

All matches LIVE on FOX SPORTS and Kayo.

Saturday July 13 - Australia vs Japan, Newcastle Sportsground no. 2

Friday July 19 - Australia vs Japan, North Sydney Oval

Saturday August 10 - Australia vs New Zealand, Optus Stadium, Perth,

Saturday August 17 - New Zealand vs Australia, Eden Park, Auckland

The Australian Rugby Foundation are supporting the Wallaroos and their journey to the 2021 Women’s Rugby Cup. Click here for information and to donate.