Current students, Lily Dick and Georgie Friedrichs, have been named as Griffith’s marquis players ahead of this weekend’s kick-off of the AON University Rugby Sevens. The announcement means Griffith University will be the only team whose two elite players are also current students.
Each university team is permitted two players from the national ranks, linking up with a combination of local club players and university students. Both Lily (18) and Georgie (23) are students at Griffith Business School.
They join a strong squad unveiled last week that includes players based in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast, with a number returning to build on last year’s strong showing in the inaugural year of the ground-breaking series.
Toowoomba native, Georgie Friedrichs, broke into the national sevens program in 2016, making her Australian debut in Canada, while Lily came to the attentions of Australian coaches during last year’s AON Series, leading to an Australian Development contract which took her to Sydney to train with the national squad.
“The first week (with the national squad) was a massive step-up but you gradually get used to the workload and the skill requirement, and then you bring this knowledge and skills back to your state,” Currumbin born, Lily (right) said.
She welcomed the addition of a fifth round of games in the 2018 series, believing it will help to develop new and emerging talent in the sport. “Last year the series set a platform for players and gave us lots of minutes and game time that we would not have got before. Apart from a couple of invitationals and the main competition at the end of the year, we would have had no regular tournament before that. It is a great opportunity for girls coming through the program to get more minutes and game time.”
The Griffith squad flies to Hobart later in the week for the first round of games to be hosted by the University of Tasmania. Along with Lily and Georgie, current students Eliza Flynn (Sport Development), Kahli Henwood (Education), Ellen Field (Exercise Science), Laura Waldie (Oral Health Dental Science), Portia Bourke (Criminal Justice), Sophie Quirk (Exercise Science), Katie Curtis (Sport Management), Kiri Lingman (Public Relations & Communication), Anthea Moodie (Sport Management) and Eloise Schlecht (Design) are all vying for positions in the 12-player match-day squad.
Director of Griffith Sports College, Duncan Free OAM, said he was delighted that Griffith’s elite players are also current students at the university. “It is a real statement about the university’s commitment to and support for elite athletes who want to combine top level competition and academic studies.”
The Griffith squad has been developed in partnership with Griffith Uni Colleges Knights Rugby Club and Sunnybank Rugby Union Club.
The five tournaments will be played across the weekends of Aug 24-26 (University of Tasmania), Sept 7-9 (University of Canberra), Sept 21-Sept 23 (University of Queensland), Oct 5-7 (Bond University) and Oct 19-21 (University of Adelaide). The other universities in the contest will be Bond University, University of New England, University of Queensland, Macquarie University, University of Canberra, University of Adelaide, University of Tasmania, University of Sydney and University of Melbourne.
Full Griffith University Squad: Georgina Friedrichs (Business), Lily Dick (Business), Eliza Flynn (Sport Development), Kahli Henwood (Education), Ellen Field (Exercise Science), Laura Waldie (Oral Health Dental Science), Portia Bourke (Criminal Justice), Sophie Quirk (Exercise Science), Katie Curtis (Sport Management), Kiri Lingman (Public Relations & Communication), Anthea Moodie (Sport Management), Eloise Schlecht (Design); Rhiannon Revell-Blair, Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea, Sophie Bell, Charlotte Kennington, Georgia Devlin, Alana Elisaia, Shannon Mato, Diaz Seumanutafa, Ivania Wong, Yolanda Gittins, Samantha Treherne, Kirby Sefo.