‘The most insane feeling’: Carys Dallinger’s magic rise from Black Ferns hopeful to Australia Rookie of the Year

Thu, Feb 8, 2024, 10:52 PM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Carys Dallinger's rise has been sudden as she claims the Rookie of the Year Award. Photo: Getty Images
Carys Dallinger's rise has been sudden as she claims the Rookie of the Year Award. Photo: Getty Images

In terms of Rookie of the Year award winners, arguably no one has come from the clouds further than Carys Dallinger - the land of the long white cloud to be specific.

It’s not a statement on her talent, more indicative of her sudden discovery in the Reds system to become a Wallaroos regular.

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In fact, 12 months ago no one in Australian Rugby knew Dallinger was Australian-eligible.

Dallinger spent 2022 in the Black Ferns system, brought in for a trial game before the World Cup.

Overlooked, she before linking up with the Reds for 2023, who were still unaware of her Australian heritage. The playmaker has signed on as an international player for Super W after impressing in Super Rugby Aupiki.

As told by Rugby.com.au, Dallinger dropped the news on then Queensland coach Simon Craig, with Wallaroos selectors instantly calling her into the squad after she kicked the Reds to the Final.

The rest is history from there as the 23-year-old became the Wallaroos starter at flyhalf for the majority of the season, debuting against Fijiana in May.

"It's honestly the most insane feeling,” she told Rugby.com.au, having accepted the award in true Dallinger fashion with an accidental f-bomb. “It's been a crazy last nine months, my world has gone from one country to another and moved my whole life over here but forever grateful for everyone that took a chance on my last year.

“It was the most welcoming environment to be involved in. I slotted in right away and the girls made me feel right at home.

“I consider every one of them family.”

Dallinger quickly had to adapt to life in the gold jersey, facing the Black Ferns haka in June in Redcliffe.

Fittingly, her finest moments came on her return to NZ during the inaugural WXV competition.

Dallinger guided Australia to wins over France and Wales to finish third in the top tier of WXV.

“It’s the pinnacle of my Rugby so far just how we were connected as a group so to put out performances like that is special,” she added on the wins."

Dallinger and the Reds will get their Super Rugby W seasons underway with a trial against the NSW Waratahs in Roma on Saturday.

The Waratahs have taken a strong squad up to Queensland, including former Red Annabelle Codey.

New Waratahs coach Mike Ruthven has named nine Wallaroos in the squad, including playmaker Arabella McKenzie.

McKenzie returns to the Waratahs after missing the 2023 season with English side Harlequins.

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