As the Goulburn Dirty Reds women get their pre-season preparations underway, co-coach Ash Mewburn has outlined her lofty goals for the 2020 season.
Though the team numbers are as yet far from clear, Mewburn, who coaches the team alongside Rob Sheekey, is confident that the Dirty Reds will be able to field a 15s team this season.
"My [first] goal this year is to field a 15s team," Mewburn said. "Once we've established that, we'll be working hard on fitness before we start on gameplay."
Taking into account the team's form in 2019, where they went through the season undefeated and claimed the ACT Rugby Women's Development League 10s premiership, Mewburn believes the Dirty Reds can once again go deep in the competition.
"My big goal this year is to win a semi-final and potentially make a grand final," she said.
Though targeting a finals berth this early in the season is a lofty goal, the composure and grittiness the team displayed in last year's finals gave Mewburn confidence.
"Games are won and lost on temperament, if a team can keep relaxed and stick to how they can play themselves, that's a big thing. That comes back to culture, having a leadership group," she said.
Having fallen 17-0 down at half time in last year's semi-final against Gungahlin, the Dirty Reds rallied in the second half to claim the match 19-17.
"That felt like a grand final win, even though it was only the semis," Mewburn said.
"It showed to the girls that we can do this, it's okay to be losing. It's important to win the momentum."
That momentum, Mewburn hopes, will carry through to this season.
"We're on some positive momentum [from last year]," she said.
"I think last year was a great stepping stone for the beginning of this year. The bigger picture is always we want to have a 15s team in the Canberra competition and last year was the first stepping stone towards that."
The advantage of a sport like rugby union, Mewburn said, is that players of all ages, sizes, and body shape have a place on the field.
"That's the good thing with rugby, there's no stereotype of body shape," she said.
"You can be tall, short, fast, slow, wide, thin, everybody has a spot on the field. There's no discrimination, your age and ability doesn't matter."
Anybody who is interested in trying rugby union, Mewburn said, is welcome to come along to a training session.
"Everyone is welcome to give it a go," she said.
"A lot of women are afraid they're not good enough to tackle, which is wrong. We have sessions here on how to tackle, grapple, contact.
"As you see the progress of women and girls, you see their self esteem and belief grow. Then it affects them outside of rugby, they take those beliefs and positive values with them."
The Dirty Reds will conduct their first pre-season training session on Thursday, January 16, at Poidevin Oval from 6pm.
Training will continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the same time for the duration of the pre-season.
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