Travelling up to four hours just for a training run might sound absurd, but it’s about to pay off for ACT Brumbies women’s flanker Millie Boyle at this year’s national championships.
Boyle, 18, who is in her final year at high school makes the trip from Cobargo to Canberra every week to train with her team-mates.
She said there were few opportunities to play contact football locally so took to the tiring trips and is still trying to balance her school life.
“It’s pretty hard, I’ve actually missed the last week of school because I’ve had a lot of games and training on,” Boyle said.
“Heading into nationals we have to be more serious and be at all the trainings and commit a lot. It’s been tough but we have to do it to be ready for a big tournament.
“I’m a bit behind [in her year 12 studies], but rugby is definitely more important at the moment.”
Growing up on the coast Boyle said she always had an interest in sports, but it was rugby league that she was most interested in.
That could be because of her pedigree; her dad David was a star for the Canberra Raiders, her cousin plays for the Raiders, her brother Morgan is currently with the Gold Coast Titans and uncle on her mum’s side is former Raiders star Jason Croker.
And she still plays league when possible, starring in the full-contact feature for the Group 16 All Stars at the start of the season, running out a woman-of-the-match performance.
Boyle said it was one of her teachers at Eden Marine High School that raised the idea of playing rugby union and she hasn’t looked back since, especially given the increasing opportunities for women in the sport.
“There’s a lot of pathways opening up,” she said. “Especially for young girls, obviously I’m still in school and in recent years we’ve had a lot of school girls comps opening up in both sevens and 15’s.
“Making the Wallaroos eventually is definitely a goal of mine and seeing the opportunities that are on offer is something that really motivates me.”
The ACT Women’s squad spent last weekend in Wagga Wagga competing at the Southern States championships.
They defeated both NSW Country and the Victorian Rebels to be crowned tournament champions.
Boyle said it was good to get a tournament win under their belts but acknowledged that the National Championships would be a big step up.
“I think we’re ready for it.”
The ACT Brumbies women’s team, which finished runners-up last year, will contest the Australian National Championships in Sydney from June 24-26.
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