Marita Shoulders is living proof she’s still young enough to excel, being able to play union at the top level into her mid-30’s.
Just last month the strapping Central West number eight was named as NSW Country women’s rugby player of the tournament played at Campbelltown.
No one was more surprised than Shoulders, given the former Sydney representative’s age and the fact she had some time away from the game.
However, it made sense, she was a more dominant and influential player than she had been.
Shoulders, who won back-to-back national rugby championships for Sydney in 2007-08, said her game had developed to the point where she’s better able to read the play.
A trait she learnt from playing alongside former Sydney and Wallaroos teammates Alexandra Hargreaves, Dalena Dennison, Cheryl Soon, Tui Ormsby and dual league-union internationals Lisa Fiaola and Ruan Sims.
“Your job was made easy being in that squad, with so many dominant players," Shoulders said.
“You just had to worry about your own role, as everyone knew what their job was," she added.
Shoulders has transferred everything she learnt from her Sydney playing days to her Central West teammates this season.
But when asked if she felt like heading to a Super W team to test her rugby mettle at a higher level she said if younger she’d pursue it but with age comes responsibility and her police career takes priority.
She said the struggle for recognition of Australia’s women’s rugby players a decade ago had been well worth it, seeing the professional foothold the game now has.