Griffith goes for national rugby title

A united Griffith squad bids for the AON Uni 7 Series title this weekend.
A united Griffith squad bids for the AON Uni 7 Series title this weekend.

Bachelor of Business student Katie Curtis found herself in a dream position as the second season of the ground-breaking AON Women’s Rugby Uni 7s Series kicked off. As co-captain of the 2018 Griffith team she headed to Hobart a day early for the official Captain’s Call photoshoot that set the wheel in motion last August.

With a strong showing under her belt from the Uni 7s inaugural season, the 19-year-old took to the field at University of Tasmania the following morning rippling with ambition for the campaign ahead. Less than two games in and Katie’s campaign was sidelined.

“I hyper-extended my elbow in a tackle and ruptured two ligaments. My arm was in a brace for five weeks,” Katie, who majors in Sport Management at Griffith Business School, says. “It made for quite a challenging year for me compared to last year when I played all of the games.”

Katie only gained medical clearance to take to the field again last week, and has resumed full activity with a 24-strong squad that has demonstrated a genuine depth of talent as injury and national call-ups have challenged resources during the first four rounds. After strong showings in rounds one and two, Griffith put back-to-back series wins together in Queensland to charge to the top of the ladder ahead of this weekend’s final round of games.

“There has been no change to our game plan this week,” Katie says. “As with other weeks we’ve focused on the little things. We’ve reviewed the last tournament, looked at our tackles and turnover rate which was good last time out, and we’re looking to top that this weekend.

“We’ve been super lucky to come out on top in the last two series. I think it reflects the hard work within the group, two field sessions a week, three gym sessions. Over the last few weeks it has really started to come together both on and off the field.”

The group has gelled strongly with themed dress-up nights a part of the dynamic. Maria Sharapova and Stephanie Gilmore are among the star names to have made ‘aspirational appearances’ during the past three months. “We have a team culture where we come together both on and off the field. We train hard together but we also have fun together, and this has had a massive role in getting us over the line during the year.”

Katie Curtis will travel to Adelaide this weekend as the 13th player, ready to step in should any ailment or bad fortune befall any teammate. She will be one of six current students on the plane covering Public Relations and Communication, Oral Health Dental Science, Education, Sport Development, Exercise Science and Sport Management.

Griffith opens the final instalment of the 2018 AON Series against University of New England on Saturday (9.30am), followed by games against Bond University (1.50pm), University of Queensland (3.50pm) and University of Canberra in Round 5 on Sunday morning (8.50am).

Director of the Griffith Sports College, Duncan Free OAM, congratulated the Griffith players and coaching team on their progress to the top of the competition ladder leading into the final series of games this weekend. “High performance levels have been maintained throughout the AON Series by the entire squad. I’ve no doubt, while keeping their feet on the ground, this group will bring the same standards to this week’s exciting challenge. Griffith Sports College wishes them the very best.”

Griffith Squad: Ivania Wong, Charlotte Kennington, Kiri Lingman (captain, Public Relations and Communication), Rhiannon Blair-Revell, Laura Waldie (vice captain, Oral Health Dental Science), Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea, Kahli Henwood (Education), Eliza Flynn (Sport Development), Kirby Sefo, Sophie Quirk (Exercise Science), Alana Elisaia, Georgia Devlin, Katie Curtis (13th player, Sport Management).