Less than 24 hours after Rugby.com.au was celebrating her ‘standout’ performance in Round 3 of the AON Uni7s Series, Griffith student Kahli Henwood had turned her attention to this week’s Australian University Games where she is competing in both netball and rugby sevens.
To say sport is central to the life of the Ormeau talent who turns 19 next week is a slight understatement. But it’s far from her sole focus, with her Bachelor of Education at Griffith very much a priority too.
A highly successful 2018 was marked early on by her selection as part of the U19 Queensland State Netball squad. The year quickly got busy with the Division 1 Golden South Jaguars team in the Queensland State Netball League and competing at the Australia Surf Life Saving Championships.
“I’ve grown up playing netball and competing in surf life-saving, so they were always my default sports of choice,” Kahli says.
“I started playing club rugby with Griffith earlier this year and from there I grew to love the sport. Towards the end of the netball season I was given the opportunity to play in the AON series with Griffith and it was an offer I could not pass up.”
Growing up with four brothers, Kahli quickly learnt to be strong and says the physicality of rugby sevens is something that originally attracted her to the sport.
“The training is intense and it’s a much more physical sport. I’ve really enjoyed playing so far,” she says. “The team environment is something that’s also helped develop my passion for the game, the girls are great leaders and the coaches are always wanting everyone to be the best they can.”
The initial challenge of juggling both sports and full-time study was something that motivated Kahli to work harder.
“In the beginning I found it hard to commit to both sports, but once I settled into a routine I enjoyed the challenges presented to me each week and I really pushed myself to work hard for both teams. Studying full-time was a challenge, initially, but I enjoy the content so it’s easier to motivate myself to study.”
Kahli attributes her ongoing passion for teaching to the diversity of Griffith’s Education degree.
“I want to be able to inspire young children to pursue their passions and to never hold back. The variety of courses offered in my degree allows me to explore the different avenues of teaching and how I can best achieve my goals.”
Kahli hopes her performance in Round 3 will secure her position in the team as Griffith looks towards an overall podium finish in the AON series.
“We’ve got to work really hard on fixing the little errors in our game that may give room for teams like UQ and Macquarie University to use to their advantage. Our team has improved its mental and physical game since the first outing in Tasmania last month, each week we focus on bettering ourselves as a team and knowing what we can do as individuals to help contribute to the bigger picture.”
Kahli competes in both netball and rugby sevens for Griffith University this week in the Australian University Games (22-27 September) on the Gold Coast.