23 June, 2022
Snakes trio shine at rep level
THE recent South Queensland Rugby Championships were a special occasion for the three Caboolture Snakes women who took part, for two different reasons.
It was special for Olivia Fidow to progress to the next level after the championships, and it was special for Rachelle Ware and Ane Mailau to make a representative team in their first year of rugby union.
Captain of the Caboolture women’s team, Fidow will represent South Queensland in the Queensland Country Championships, to be played in Toowoombafrom July 1 to 3.
Fidow, Ware and Mailau played for the Sunshine Coast Stingrays who won one game and lost one at the South Queensland Rugby Championships, at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Fidow ran about 20 metres to score the first try of the opening game, which the Stingrays won 32-0 against the Gold Coast Cyclones.
Ware also scored in this game, with the Stingrays No. 9 scooping up the ball and feeding Ware who touched down following a fumble from the Cyclones.
“Right place right time, I think,” Ware said afterwards.
Gold Coast suffered another 32-0 defeat the following day, which set up a Sunday showdown involving the Stingrays and Darling Downs to decide which team finished first.
There was no score for most of the first half before the teams scored three tries each, with Darling Downs winning the tight contest 17-15 after landing the only conversion.
“That’s the beauty of rugby, it keeps you on the edge,” Fidow said of the narrow loss to Darling Downs.
Fidow, who played in her preferred prop position in both games, said she loved playing 15-a-side in the championships rather than the usual 12-a-side in club games.
“It was amazing, in terms of the short period of time and the rugby we were able to produce,” she said.
“It brought us together pretty much. At the end of the day, that’s rugby culture for you.
“That’s the reason I love it so much.”
Fidow said that as a whole, she thought the Stingrays did an amazing job.
“We worked together very well. We shared our knowledge of rugby and our love of the sport,” she said.
“At the end of the day it’s about having each other’s back, and we definitely accomplished that.”
Compared to club matches, Fidow said the South Queensland Rugby Championships were “definitely that next step higher”.
Fidow is now gearing up for the Queensland Country Championships, with selection for the Australian Rugby Championships up for grabs.
Meanwhile, Ware and Mailau said it was unexpected to make a representative team in their debut year of rugby union.
Having previously played gridiron and rugby league, Ware said she wanted to try a different code.
“There’s a lot to learn but I’m loving it,” she said of her switch to rugby union.
Usually a flyhalf for the Snakes, Ware played at flyhalf against the Cyclones before playing on the wing against Darling Downs.
Ware said she had a great time and “learned heaps”, while there was “lots to build on from there”.
Ware said she thought the Stingrays gelled well but shot themselves in the foot a bit during their second game, and would have benefited from more training.
“The intensity was heaps higher, and the skill level as well,” Ware said of the comparison with club football.
Mailau, who played at blind-side flanker in both games, said it was “a different level of rugby” compared with club football, and that “there’s so much talent out there”.
“I loved it. It was such a fun experience,” Mailau said.
Having previously played netball and touch football, Mailau said she took up rugby union with the Snakes this year to help out with player numbers, and because her brothers played the sport.
“I’m enjoying it. (It’s) a family feel environment, and very welcoming,” she said.
Mailau said she preferred to play in the forwards but would line up in the backline “if they’re desperate”.
Ware and Mailau said it would be great to make the Stingrays team again next year, but they were not looking too far ahead.
Ware said she wanted to improve and learn more and have a better understanding of the game.
Mailau said hopefully she would know the rules better by next year.
“I’ve got nothing to lose, so I’ll have a crack,” Mailau said.
“If it happens, it happens.”