18 September, 2022

Competing on the world stage

CABOOLTURE’S Rachelle Ware (pictured) experienced the trip of a lifetime as she represented Australian Outback in the IFAF Women’s Football World Championships in Finland.

Competing on the world stage - feature photo

It was the second time Ware had represented Australian Outback in world championship gridiron, having taken part in the 2017 tournament in Canada.

Ware was one of just seven Australian Outback players to participate in both the 2017 and 2022 gridiron World Championships, with the team playing twice on the former occasion and three times on the latter occasion.

After coming last in the six-team competition following 31-6 and 31-10 losses to Canada and Mexico in 2017, Australian Outback came seventh out of eight teams this year.

Australian Outback lost 33-6 and 34-6 to Canada and Mexico, before finishing with a 7-0 win over Sweden.

With Ware having played as a linebacker and at defensive end, she was among the competition’s top five tacklers along with teammate Laura St Ruth.

“I think I had a few good tackles in the backfield, and I recovered the ball twice,” Ware said.

Ware also said it “was a pretty amazing feeling” to learn she was among the top five players with the highest tackle count, while she gained a lot from the overall experience.

“(I enjoyed) the interaction with different women across the world who love the same sport I do,” she said.

Among the Australian Outback squad, Ware said she had made “friends for life”.

Ware said she definitely thought Australian Outback had improved since 2017, but that gridiron was “still fairly new” to Australia.

“It’s an uphill battle for the Australian team to get to those medal placing positions,” she said.

“We have room for improvement and a way to go to move up the ladder.”

Ware began playing gridiron for the Gold Coast Stingrays about eight years ago, and was with a few different clubs before moving to Caboolture and joining the Deception Bay-based Raptors.

Ware came close to being a premiership winner in her first year, only for the Stingrays to lose the grand final in overtime.

Although premiership success has eluded her at club level, Ware was part of three winning titles for Queensland in the Australian National Championship.

Having previously played rugby league for many years, Ware said she took up gridiron because she “wanted to give something else a go and came across gridiron on facebook”.

“I thought I’d give it a go, and I haven’t looked back since.”

As for what she enjoys so much about gridiron, Ware said, “No matter what shape or size you are, there’s a position that fits you.

“Even if only something little doesn’t go right, the whole play breaks down, so you’ve really got to work as a team.”

Ware also played rugby union for the Caboolture Snakes this year, and found it had a whole other skillset.

She became the Snakes’ first-choice goal-kicker, and she missed the latter part of the rugby union season due to her time in Finland.

Ware said she intended to play on for the Snakes next season, and would take a break from gridiron.

“I would love to take part in the next World Championship in 2025, but the cost is the biggest hurdle to get over as it’s an amateur sport, especially for women,” she said.

“Players not only have to compete to make the playing squad, we have to self- fund the whole campaign.”


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