Even though Orange product Grace Hamilton blitzed last weekend’s Buildcorp National Women’s XV Championship, which her Sydney side won, the 25-year-old back-rower still didn’t think she’d be named in the Wallaroos’ Four Nations squad.
She was hopeful, but far from expectant.
But now, after her name was called among the 28-strong group at Friday’s squad announcement, she’s over the moon, and desperately looking forward to adding to her two international caps.
“It’s a great honour and privilege,” the former Kinross student said.
“There is so much talent around right now and so many girls coming through, so I just try and keep my head down and play well for whatever team I’m in.
“I’ve been working really hard in the background and I want to keep improving.”
Hamilton had a taste of international rugby last year when she made her debut against New Zealand and even though making it back to that level was a motivating factor before the nationals, it was also something she put out of her mind.
“[Playing for Australia] is the pinnacle, but I love playing for Sydney at the nationals,” Hamilton said, her side won its third straight title.
“We have such a tight-knit group and our focus was just producing the best performance we could.”
The Wallaroos face England in the opening game of the new Four Nations tournament in New Zealand, designed as a pre-cursor to the 2017 Rugby World Cup later this year.
The latter competition, well, making it there is everyone’s goal.
“Playing at a World Cup would be amazing and obviously I think that is everyone’s goal but right now, my focus is on the Four Nations tour and being physically and mentally prepared for it,” Hamilton explained.
“I didn’t have much time to prepare (before her debut) last year, getting a last minute call, so this year I really want to do the best I can for myself and the team.”
Hamilton is one of seven Sydney guns to be named in the Wallaroos group, which faces England on June 9 in Wellington.
After that the Australians face a huge clash against New Zealand on June 13 and finish their campaign against Canada four days later.
Orange has another link to the Wallaroos side too, Emus legend Amanda Ferguson will manage the side.