Women & Sports: Annemarie Collins
Not one to blow her own whistle, Annmarie Collins has a healthy list of achievements both in her personal, professional and sports career; currently playing for the Victorian Women's 15s state team, she has previously played for this team in 2009 and 2010. Over the weekend of May 11th -14th 2017, the Victorian state team, played in the Women’s National Championships on the Gold Coast.
In 2008 Annmarie, or ‘Noodles’ to her teammates because of the curl in her hair, started playing rugby in Melbourne at the age of 27. Considered ‘ripe’ at the age of 27, she had been on a weight loss drive after returning from the UK obese at 125kgs. “I had lost nearly 50kgs in 2 years by running, doing light weight programs and eating right but I was bored. I was bored of training on my own and wanted to play a sport.”
Half Aussie, half Kiwi and brought up watching Aussie rules and rugby union, Annmarie had played more traditionally female sports like netball and tennis in her youth and this time around she decided to give ‘footy’ a go instead.
Her ideal scenario had been to give both codes a go, trying rugby first simply because a club with a women’s team played less than 1km from her house. “I never made it to footy training as I fell in love with rugby after my first game. I loved the physicality, the running, the technical aspects of the game and mostly how there was a place for everybody.”
Rugby has a unique offering for girls and women as the sport requires 15 very different players to be successful. As women, we are brought up to fit moulds especially in sport. Annmarie remembers never being comfortable in the pleated netball skirt she had to wear in the 90’s. In a rugby team the mould, like a scrum, is a moving, flexible beast; a position that suits you best will be found for you. A rugby team needs to have larger, powerhouse athletes in the forward pack to do the grunt work, agile and aggressive loose forwards to win the ball, smart and fearless players in the 9 & 10 positions and lightning fast backs who can pull off slick moves. And if your body changes or age catches up with you there is another position with different skills and strengths needed for you to try.
Annmarie explains that sport has presented opportunities and given her unforgettable experiences but mostly it has made her appreciate the capability of her body that as women she was previously not encouraged to explore. Somewhere along the line women became the ‘fairer sex’, a frailer, weaker version of men whose bodies weren’t built for impact, endurance or strength. Sport has made her realise that that is a “steaming pile of horse poo”. (Amen! – Ed).
“Through sport I have learned to appreciate my thunder thighs capable of squats and deadlifts, my East German shoulders that can hold up scrums and my chicken drumstick calves that have carried me up mountains all over the world. And once you appreciate your body for the things it can help you achieve then you can’t not love it.”
Annmarie is also the current president of the Women’s Rugby Development Association (WRDA) which endeavours to encourage women and girls to be involved and helping to break the stigma of women being physical and aggressive.
The WRDA has all the socials, twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Or contact Annmarie via facebook