Growing up in Panuara, Grace Hamilton's only involvement with rugby union was as a spectator but when she returns to the Central West this weekend, she'll be coming home as the headline act in one of Australia's most-dominant outfits.
Hamilton will line up at No.8 for the NSW Waratahs on Sunday afternoon as they look to maintain their undefeated record in this year's second edition of the BuildCorp Super W, against the Melbourne Rebels at Bathurst's Anne Ashwood Park.
It might not Panuara or Orange, two spots she's slightly more familiar with, but she says it definitely feels like a homecoming of sorts and she can't wait, you don't often get the chance to play in front of your family and friends so close to home after all.
"There have been a few country games played at club level and I've asked for so many of them to be in the Central West and they haven't, so for me this is going to be the first time I've played in the Central West and I'm so excited to come back home," Hamilton enthused.
"There wasn't a lot of women's rugby when I was growing up. There might have been some but it wasn't something that was really on the sporting scene in the Central West, whereas now I know it's growing and going from strength to strength.
"I was just that little girl on the sidelines cheering on my brother and my dad, so for women's rugby in Central West now to be such a big sport is great. It's something I'd obviously like to, in the future, try and help build it tenfold."
Hamilton even went as far as admitting she was somewhat envious after hearing Central West's women's side was embarking on a tour of New Zealand, although she's no stranger to representative jerseys anyway having been one of the Wallaroos' best in recent years.
Hamilton's Waratahs claimed last year's inaugural Super W crown undefeated and they've built on that record since, keeping their unbeaten tag intact throughout the 2019 edition.
She's also one of the side's leaders, as one of 2018 grand final hero Ash Hewson's two deputies, and her form has been scintillating, although she knows the Rebels will pose a massive threat to the Waratahs' hopes of securing the minor title on Sunday.
"It's amazing that I get that opportunity to be in a leadership position. But for me, it's not about having a letter next to my name, it's more about creating a culture at the team and everyone plays a role in that," she said.
"To be honest, the Rebels' performances have improved dramatically with every game they've played. I think their full of surprises, we don't know what they are going to throw at us, but hopefully we can come together.
"I think with our NSW team at the moment we are building. Last season we started strongly then we sort of plateaued but, this season I can feel it building."
Holistically, Hamilton also feels the Super W competition has been hugely important to developing women's rugby in Australia.
"Super W has given us more consistent high-level games which is so important. Having it is allowing us to be in a full-time program at an amateur level," she said.
"We are still working, but we're training four nights a week then have a game. So for us it's a big commitment, but it's opening our eyes in terms of what it takes to play at that national level.
"It's definitely lifted the standard as well."
Sunday's Super W blockbuster at Anne Ashwood Park kicks off at 3pm, following a number of curtain-raisers and Central West Rugby Union's season launch.
- NSW WARATAHS: 1 Emily Robinson, 2 Tasmin Sheppard, 3 Evelyn Horomia, 4 Ana-Lise Sio, 5 Sera Naiqama, 6 Alexandra Sulusi (vc), 7 Emily Chancellor, 8 Grace Hamilton (vc), 9 Katrina Barker, 10 Chloe Leaupepe, 11 Shanice Parker, 12 Arabella McKenzie, 13 Crystal Maguire, 14 Maya Stewart, 15 Ashleigh Hewson (c); Bench: 16 Melissa Fatu, 17 Matalena Wilson, 18 Tisera Volkman, 19 Pareake O'Brien, 20 Fi Jones, 21 Phoebe Loughhead, 22 Mahalia Murphy, 23 Kennedy Cherrington.
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