This year had its challenges for Wallaroo Mahalia Murphy, who missed out on a spot in the Australian Sevens’ squad right from the get-go.

The Kamilaroi woman hopes to land a full-time Rugby Union contract for next year, and although the offer hasn’t arrived yet, the 24-year-old is far from despondent.

Having spent time training with the Australian Sevens squad this year, she’s thinking about how she can grow in 2019.

“My performance, skill and knowledge of the game has grown, and getting around the girls, I’ve learnt so much from each and every one of them,” Murphy said.

Murphy represented Australia in Rugby League before making the transition to the Australian Rugby 7s program in 2015.

She debuted for the Wallaroos (the 15-a-side team) in 2017 and was part of the side that played the first Test against New Zealand in Sydney in a decade this year.

Rugby Australia coaches have her earmarked for future successes in the Australian Sevens line up, but a full-time contract remains elusive.

The athlete makes ends meet by working as a community engagement officer with Rugby Australia, visiting schools and communities to help introduce kids to the sport.

The speedster says she isn’t entertaining a return to Rugby League, where she had some success, despite a challenging 2018.

“I think when I first started it was a bit hard to sacrifice league and just focus on Sevens but being able to train every day and then have the opportunity to travel around the world really shows you that it’s worth it,” she said.

Murphy is keen to return to the Australian Sevens squad in 2019, ahead of the 2020 Olympics in Japan.

By Keiran Deck