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AON Uni 7’s Player Profile: Katie Muscat University of Queensland

Photo: Rugby Australia Media - Karen Watson

The 2019 series of the AON Uni 7’s kicked off at the University of Queensland on Saturday 14 September with the host university going through both days undefeated to secure a memorable first round win.

UQ utility player Katie Muscat (Bachelor of Physiotherapy – Honours) spoke to us about balancing study with sporting commitments, playing against some of the country’s best, and the teams to beat in 2019.

A talented athlete, Katie discusses her pathway to running out with the UQ 7’s team.

“I’ve been playing Rugby 7s for two years now, so I am still quite new to the sport. Soccer was one of my main sports and touch football as well,” she said.

“I began in the 7s program with UQ last year, training and developing my skills, learning more about the game. I was then fortunate enough to play in a couple of the final AON tournaments last year.

“It’s been an awesome experience, we train three times a week and it’s all very high quality.”

Balancing the high intensity training workloads and study is a fine art according to Katie, with managing time the key to success.

“I’ve always been busy with school, sport and university so I like to think that I have pretty good time management skills. It is a challenge to keep on top of things sometimes, especially towards the end of semester, but I think if you have the mindset to get things done, it’s just what you do,” said Katie.

“The University of Queensland and the coaching staff are very good in that aspect. A lot of the girls are in the elite athlete program at UQ so they help you with your exam and assignment schedules whenever they clash. Rugby is important and so is university and there is a really good balance between that when you’re speaking to your coaches and your teammates.

“The university is also really good should I need to defer an exam or get an extension on an assignment they understand that and are happy to do that for you.”

Photo: Rugby Australia Media - Karen Watson

Being so new to the sport doesn’t deter Katie from wanting to succeed and push herself at every opportunity, with the chance to come up against Wallaroos players in the Uni 7’s allowing Katie the chance to test herself against the best.

“To play against them is just awesome! Everyone wants to see how they go up against the best in the whatever sport they play so it’s great,” said Katie.

“I’m playing with and competing against some of the Aussie girls, so in terms of my personal progress it’s been awesome. Both the coaches and the players I play with and against compete at high levels, so I get a really good experience.

“We get to learn from them all the skills they have developed in the Aussie program and this helps develop your skills as well.”

Photo: Rugby Australia Media - Karen Watson

In terms of the squad, no one is safe and competition is fierce.

“We have a really good squad this year. There are about 24 in the squad and we are all vying for positions every week so it is a really competitive environment but it is also a very good one - you do your best to make the top 12,” she said.

“This year I really put my mind to it in the preseason and I have been training hard. My ambitions are to keep playing and developing my skills and to keep having a lot of fun. As we have only played one round it is hard to predict the outcome. With every competition, each team gets better and better as they work on their weaknesses and their strengths.”

Katie says the girls are under no illusion on who is the team to beat in 2019.

“I’d say the main competition is Griffith, there’s always a bit of rivalry there between us and Griffith. Then I’d say UTS (University of Technology Sydney) and Sydney (The University of Sydney) round out the top four teams," said Katie.

They will all keep getting better and fighting for that top position. Our main focus is to take every game as it comes, not on versing one team. “Personally, I want to beat Griffith! We won the first year, they won the second year so it’s always good to beat the best.”

With round two at Bond University (BOND) this weekend, Katie knows UQ have a target on their back.

Photo: Rugby Australia Media - Karen Watson

“When you win the first round you become the team to beat. You have to be positive, and can’t be complacent. It depends how we turn up on the weekend and how our preparation goes,” said Katie.

“We’re not too confident but we know if we back our skills and preparation then we’ll give it a fair crack and go for that top position again.”

Round two kicks off from 9am this Saturday 28 September at Bond University on the Gold Coast.

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