FOR the second successive year, Wingham’s Annie Taylor has been named in the Mid North Coast Zone side to play in the NSW Country Women’s Rugby Union Championships this weekend.
However, this time around Annie will have much more experience than in 2017. Last season Annie hadn’t even played rugby when she was called into the rep squad for the championship held at Tuncurry.
Keen to explore rugby, Annie had earlier signed on to train with the zone. However, MNC was struggling for numbers so Annie volunteered to help out.
“I was enjoying training so I gave it a crack,’’ she smiled.
She was named on the interchange bench and eventually spent game time on the wing and then as a breakaway. Annie was the only player from the Lower North Coast area in the MNC squad.
This weekend she heads to Campbelltown with the MNC side but she’ll be joined by fellow LNC players Emily Brady from Forster, Ellie Johnston from Coomba Park and Felicity George from Diamond Head. Annie has also earned a place in the starting XV as a second rower.
“I knew after Country last year that the second row was the spot for me,’’ she said.
Annie was sporting a few bumps and bruises from her introduction to rugby at Country. But this didn’t dim her enthusiasm for the sport. Just the opposite in fact.
“It’s part of the game and that just made me more determined to start playing,’’ she said.
Mid North Coast performed credibly last year and Annie is confident the team will build on that platform this weekend.
“We’ve been training really well. I think we’ll go okay,’’ she said.
Annie understands MNC will tackle Central West in the opening game. Perennial champions Hunter-Newcastle will again be the team to beat. Such was her passion for the game that last year she turned out with Gloucester, playing in the Mid North Coast competition. Gloucester was the only Lower North Coast club with a women’s side. This involved regular trips to Coffs Harbour for matches as well as to Gloucester for training.
Women’s rugby has gained a foothold in the Lower North Coast through the introduction of the sevens this year. All five LNC clubs field sides and this has led to the stronger representation in the zone side. It’s also cut down the kilometres Annie has to travel to train and play as she now captains the Old Bar Clams. The Clams have fared pretty well, registering a couple of wins, with Annie nominating her old club, Gloucester along with Wallamba as the teams to beat for higher honours.
Her interest in rugby was spiked through the battling Old Bar Clams in the LNC competition.
“I was the team’s strapper and watching the matches, I just knew it was a game I wanted to try,’’ she said.
While she enjoys sevens, it’s the traditional 15-a-side game that Annie really wants to play on a regular basis. She’s sure sevens will eventually give way to 15-a-side rugby.
“We might go to 10s next, but we want to play 15-a-side,’’ she said.
“We played a 15-a-side game against a team made up from the northern (Mid North Coast) clubs at Taree recently and only lost by two points.’’