The NSW town of Wagga Wagga has a rich sporting history.
It prides itself on offering a wealth of sporting pursuits to its residents and it is famous for developing sportspeople who went on to become leaders in their chosen sports. Think Michael Slater, Steve Mortimer, Sally Shipard, Paul Kelly and Nathan Sharpe to name a few.
Add one more to that list: Jane Garraway.
Jane played almost every sport that was offered in Wagga before deciding rugby was her favourite.
As a rugby player, she has been able to combine many facets of her previous sporting life in Wagga Wagga, which ranged from athletics to netball. Such was her talent and ability as a sprinter that Jane competed in the United States and Canada with an invitational team.
This combination of sports provided the platform for her initial success in the Rugby 7s before she added the 15-a-side game to her repertoire when she moved to Canberra.
Now in her third season in Super W, and in the absence of last year’s skipper Shellie Millward through injury, Jane has been appointed co-captain alongside Michaela Leonard ahead of the 2020 campaign.
That campaign starts on Saturday against Western Australia at GIO Stadium. Expectations are high as Jane attests: “A top-two finish is not out of reach.”
The addition of Wallaroo and ex-Dubbo Rhinos player Rebecca Smyth will strengthen the team, as well as recruits from across Australia including the Northern Territory. With these new players, alongside the ACT players, prospects are high for the season.
Despite these positive changes to the team, it hasn’t been the easiest of pre-seasons to navigate as Jane acknowledges.
“It was a hard pre-season with the bushfires, the smoke and the heat. We all work and study full-time so we couldn’t leave Canberra to go into camp elsewhere.” This is an indicator, if nothing else, that the women’s game still has a long way to go before it can match the conditions enjoyed by their male counterparts.
For Jane though, work is important. She is currently in the process of practical legal training to become a lawyer at leading Canberra legal firm Snedden Hall and Gallop.
She joined SHG as a paralegal while she was completing her Bachelor of Laws at the University of Canberra.
“Work has been very flexible, and encouraging,” says Jane, “I couldn’t have found a more inclusive workplace.”
Right across the Brumbies women’s team there are students, teachers, physiotherapists, lawyers and many other professions represented through the diversity of players. Supportive and encouraging workplaces are a vital component for women to compete at this level.
That practical versatility will hold them in good stead heading into this season, which starts on Saturday night (15 Febraury) at GIO Stadium. Tickets from Ticketek.