Wallaroos winger Mahalia Murphy scored two tries to help the Australians to a 2-0 victory in their series against Japan.
Emotions overwhelmed Murphy as the national anthem played ahead of the first Test in Newcastle. It had been a long road back from disappointment for the 26-year-old.
Last year she lost her Aussie 7s contract. Soon after she redirected her attention to the 15-a-side program and returned to Australian colours last week.
“The raw emotions of being able to see my family waving and smiling in the crowd, proud. Realising it’s my brother’s first time watching me play for Australia live,” she said.
“The sound of our supporters acknowledging us and embracing the fact that hard work has led to a moment like this.”
“What an absolutely powerful feeling standing next to these amazing women wearing the colours green and gold.”
Australia made it look easy on the scoreboard, winning 34-5 in Newcastle and 46-3 in North Sydney, but Japan gave them plenty to work on.
Murphy finished with a double in the Sydney clash, as the Wallaroos piled on seven tries to none.
“In the change room, before the girls came out, we said ‘let’s make a statement’,” coach Dwyane Nestor said.
Murphy has struggled to make an impact on international rugby despite being in the Australian Sevens setup for several years. With her talent on clear display at home, it’s possible she’s a late bloomer and her time in the spotlight is starting now.
The Wallaroos will turn their attention to their next series against New Zealand at home on August 10th and across the ditch on the 17th.
“You look at last year and you wish we’d had the same preparation before we went to the Black Ferns. But to have that this year is awesome, and the program going forward next year is even better,” Nestor said.
The Wallaroos will be part of a four nations competition in 2020.