Western Wallaroo staying put to guide state's Gen Next

Super W
by Emma Greenwood

Wallaroo Trilleen Pomare admits there have been moments when she's contemplated leaving Western Australia to see if it would further her rugby development.

But having made the national team from the west, the flyhalf wants to follow the example of those who have gone before her and show the next generation they don't have to leave the nest to play at the highest level.

"I have thought about leaving and moving to different states just to see what I can learn there but at the same time, there's going to be no one here for those young girls," said Pomare, who made her international debut in 2017.

"Whatever I do with the game, that's outside but what I want to do as a person is to instill that you can do it from here.

"There's only three Wallaroos here now in WA, so if two of us leave, that leaves one person with all of that on their back.

"We have so much talent, so whatever I can teach them, I'll be happy with that."

Pomare is following a path trodden by players that have gone before her, including veteran Rebecca Clough and wants to continue to show the state's emerging players they do not have to leave the west to be successful.

"Bec Clough has been a veteran in the game and she's never left WA," Pomare said.

"For me, it's not so much using my name but using my experience and how can I teach these young girls."

Pomare was one of four WA women who turned out for the Wallaroos last season, including Clough, Ariana Hira-Herangi and Mhicca Carter, although Carter has been lost to rugby for 2020 at least after switching codes to play AFLW with the West Coast Eagles.

But Pomare is excited at a new generation of players pushing into the senior ranks determined to help WA challenge for a finals spot.

"We're only getting better and we're only getting stronger," Pomare said.

"We just haven't been able to produce results to attract people (in the past) but now we're getting young girls coming through and they want to play Super W and they're just showing up willing, saying how can I do that.

"We're those people to guide them through on what you need, what's expected and then it's up to you.

"It is exciting. We've got lots of young girls coming through and hopefully they'll stay.

"We're trying to create an environment where they don't have to go over east or go to other states to play and to be seen."

Pomare said Carter's loss was a blow to WA but she had no issue with her switch.

"All the best to her. You're still an athlete at this level and you're trying to do whatever you can in whatever code you want to do and she just decided that she wanted to do that.

"But for sure, it's a big loss for us. She's someone who's played forever and has good skills, good fitness and is just a crazy communicator out there.

"But at the same time, it opens up a lot of opportunities for the young girls.

"It's a loss for us but we're not really dwelling on it, we've got a lot of people that can fill that space and a bit of depth that we didn't think we had in that we've realised now that she's gone and people are wanting to step up to fill those shoes.

"She's set a pretty good benchmark for what she's done and what she left in our team, so that's good for the girls coming through."

Carter's absence has led to Pomare stepping up as well as a leader.

"It's something that I haven't really fulfilled that last couple of years and I'm just starting to step into that now," she said.

"As a 10, a game driver, that's what I need to do anyway at state level or Wallaroos.

"First and foremost, I'm focusing on myself and where I need to be for my team. And then secondary is setting that standard of where our expectations are and what I need to do for our team and what our expectations are for each other.

"I have stepped up and taken a bit of leadership on, I think, and it's needed at this time - just setting good examples, good habits for our young girls coming through."

It's not always been easy but Pomare believes it will also take her to another level.


"You can't lead someone if you're not willing to go to those uncomfortable places yourself," she said.

"For me, it's just putting my hand up and saying: 'how can I be better as a player; how can the girls look up to that?'

"But if I'm doing it myself, it just happens naturally. If you just point fingers and you're not willing to do it yourself, you've failed as a leader.

"So that's what I've focused on, putting myself in uncomfortable positions of grinding it out, pre-season's been tough."

WA finished fourth last season, pushing the Brumbies in the match that would determine the last playoff spot but eventually falling short.

With Carter now gone and a new generation coming through, Pomare said there was no pressure on the team to achieve.


But that did not mean they had lowered their expectations.

"I say we've got no pressure on us but we've set our goals high and we're out there to compete," Pomare said.

"That's the attitude that we need and we're instilling in our young ones that we believe in them so much and we can do so much.

"If we go out and are passive and are looking for third place, we might not get it.

"If we aim for first, or aim for just doing our best out there, if we come away with whatever we come away with, we're happy with that.

"But if we start with that kind of mentality in our young girls (that third is the best we can do) it's no good."