Newcastle rugby union stars Katrina Barker and Maya Stewart have been named in the NSW Waratahs squad set to face the ACT Brumbies in a Super W trial match at Bowral this Saturday.
Barker, who was forced onto the sideline with an elbow injury in the inaugural Super W final last April, has been named to come off the bench for the ‘Tahs, while live-wire winger Stewart will be making her first major start for the squad.
The entrance into the state representative squad comes after Stewart claimed gold with the Australian team at the World School 7s championship in New Zealand at the tail end of last year, a position she earned after a landslide of tries came her way in the Uni 7s competition.
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NSW Women’s head coach Matt Evrard told NSW Rugby Media the focus from their preseason camp so far had been on “further skill development and fitness” as they keep one eye on the 2019 Super W season.
“We are preparing to play a different game to what we played in 2018 and that is due to the fact that we have a new-look squad and players who bring a different skill set to our team,” Evrard said.
“The aim of the trial is to test some of our combinations and also see how our new hopefuls step up at this level. What’s been exciting to see so far is that our leaders have stepped up and set the standards around the group.
“Also, from an on-field perspective, our forwards are more powerful and at the same time we have added a lot more speed to our backline.”
Stewart and Barker’s selection in the NSW Waratahs is also a positive for the local Waratahs in the Novocastrian competition – both players are heavily involved in the city competition, and the club wished them “all the best” for their trial clash on Saturday.
Kick-off for the NSW v ACT match will be at 2pm at the Bowral Rugby Club’s ground.
NSW Waratah’s changes for 2019 season
IN: Emily Chancellor, Kennedy Cherrington, Noella Green, Jemima Henry, Eva Karpani, Phoebe Loughhead, Lorreta Mailangi, Arabella McKenzie, Mahalia Murphy, Sera Naiqama, Maya Stewart, Amy Turner, Tisera Volkman Matalena Wilson
OUT: Nat Crow, Laura Devereux, Josephine Falesita, Aaliya Fasavalu Fa’amausili, Alafou Fatu, Ariana Kawai, Atasi Lafai, Sarah Laman, Natalie Maclarn, Cobie-Jane Morgan, Tina Sio, Nancy Vaiaku, Inge Visser, Mardi Watts