'I’m not here just to compete': Hamilton, Wallaroos dreaming big after quarter-final qualifications

Sun, Oct 23, 2022, 3:19 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Grace Hamilton reflects on her 'tough' year as the Wallaroos eye off some big scalps. Photo: Getty Images
Grace Hamilton reflects on her 'tough' year as the Wallaroos eye off some big scalps. Photo: Getty Images

Wallaroos number eight Grace Hamilton is looking to continue her red-hot form in the knockout stages as they look to take it to the world's best

Hamilton produced one of the best individual performances of Rugby World Cup 2021 to power Australia to a 13-7 victory over Wales.

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The backrower delivered an incredible 28 carries, double her nearest rival, as the Wallaroos dominated possession and territory in the second half.

Whilst the execution was lacking inside the 22, Hamilton was proud of the effort shown by the group.

“It was a really stop-start game, we couldn’t get our momentum,” Hamilton told Rugby.com.au.

“I’m really proud of the girls, it’s a special day for us wearing this jersey and how much it means to us.

“It’s been an awesome day for us. Our goal was to make the quarter-finals and to come second in our pool after that New Zealand loss, for us to bounce back is awesome. I wish there was more points in it in both of our wins but I’m happy to get it done.”

Hamilton is the first to admit 2022 has been a tough year, going from captain to dropped out of the 23 altogether for the opening O'Reilly Cup series.

She rejected any suggestions the axing lit a fire underneath her, believing she has always been playing at this level, however, there has been an apparent rise in intensity and initiative to get the Wallaroos over the advantage line and power them to victory.

The former Wallaroos skipper produced more carries in Saturday's victory than she managed in the three Pac Four Tests (26) and was unlucky not to win player of the match in their gutsy win over Scotland last week.

“I’ve had a pretty tough year to be honest,” Hamilton admitted.

“It’s all about just bouncing back from the struggles and just play for myself and play for the team.

“There’s nothing more that I love than playing for Australia. It’s literally the most amazing thing in the world and to have my family supporting me, they’re here every game and the girls backing me.

“For me, it’s just about doing the best for the team.

“…I’m the first to admit I’ve mentally struggled this year but I’m pretty strong at the moment and I know I can play and take the game on for the girls and that’s exactly why I am here. I want to play for the girls and for Australia, I want to do the best for my country.”

The Wallaroos had always targeted the quarter-finals as their main goal and it speaks to Hamilton's killer instinct that she saw this as an 'insult.'

Hamilton is gunning for the top prize and relished a chance to test themselves against the best with a likely battle with England awaiting in the quarter-finals.

“My first mentality when we got told the goal was quarter-finals I took that as an insult, I’m here to win the World Cup, I’m not here just to compete and make quarter-finals," she explained.

“I’m here to dominate the World Cup and we have to team to do so, we just have to get a couple things right.

“We’re the Kinder Surprise, anything is possible with this team. We’ve got to keep grinding, we know we can be better than last week and before that.

“We’ve got to peak at the right time so hopefully that is coming…the talent in that side is unbelievable, we just have to learn how to play with each other again. There’s a lot of young girls with so much talent and I’m so proud of them to step up on the international stage.”

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