The NSW Waratahs Women have confirmed their leadership group and captain for the 2020 Buildcorp Super W season.
Campbell Aitken has named four players – Grace Hamilton, Emily Robinson, Iliseva Batibasaga and Katrina Barker – in his leadership group for the season ahead.
The quartet are part of a 13-strong group of players within the squad with international experience and will be charged with fostering a culture that has so far reaped back-to-back Super W Championships.
Wallaroos skipper, Grace Hamilton will take over the captaincy duties from the retired Ash Hewson.
NSW Waratahs Women’s Head Coach, Campbell Aitken said that Hamilton had the natural leadership ability he was looking for and was excited to work with the Wallaroos skipper on that aspect of her game.
“I wouldn’t say it was an easy choice [to select Grace], we have a number of leaders, but Grace is such a figurehead in our squad given her position in the Wallaroos,” Aitken said.
“We all know her ability on the field, I was more wary of putting too much pressure on her.
“I’m really pleased [to name her captain] but Grace has still got a bit to learn when it comes to leadership. I’m looking forward to working with her on that, but she’s a natural leader who has so much respect in our squad.”
Aitken acknowledged the influence that Hamilton’s former skipper and Sydney University teammate, Ash Hewson had on her development as a leader.
“I think Grace picked up a few things from Ash, but she brings her own style and that’s what we want to encourage, have Grace be herself and bring her whole self to the role which I know she will.”
Working alongside Hamilton will be the trio of Robinson, Batibasaga and Barker who Aitken said will be responsible for developing the culture across the squad.
“I was pretty clear in my mind that I wanted two forwards and two backs, and I didn’t want too many players from one particular club to spread the reach of the leadership group,” Aitken added.
“I think they’re all leaders in their own right, I’ve seen that in pre-season and I saw it last year [when Aitken was Assistant Coach]. Peer-to-peer communication is quite powerful and will be an important part of how we deliver messages and build that culture.
“I want the players to take a bit more ownership over that [culture], rather than have it dictated to them as well as give me regular feedback on how we’re coaching and how the squad is feeling.
“We do have other leaders in the group as well, other international players and we’ll be leaning heavily on them – it won’t just be down to those four [leadership group].”