Melanie Kawa to lead Aon Uni 7s team

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1 March; Larissa Payne

Health & Human Services student-athlete Melanie Kawa will captain the University’s women’s Rugby 7s team in the upcoming Aon Uni 7s national competition.

The Aon Uni 7s competition is part of Rugby Australia’s high performance pathway program for women and is entering into its 4th season in 2021. The competition supports the growth of women’s participation in the code and provides the opportunity for players to ultimately progress through to the Australian Olympic 7s team. University teams can contain students and a limited number of alumni, students from other institutions and non-students.

Kawa, a native of Papua New Guinea and a veteran of the Melbourne Uni Uni 7s team, also plays women’s rugby union with the Melbourne University Rugby Football Club and is the 2021 co-captain of the Melbourne Rebels Women in the Super W national competition.

Coach Jason Rogers was excited to confirm Kawa as the University’s 7s captain for the upcoming season.

“Melanie is a work horse on and off the field. And her passion and enthusiasm on the pitch make her a strong role model for the younger girls in the team”, said Rogers.

The new captain was equally excited to lead the team in 2021.

“Melbourne has become my home-away-from-home and these girls are like my family. And I’m very honoured to be given this opportunity to lead the team this year”, said Kawa.

Rogers along assistant coach Scott Aldington, have named the 25-player squad, which includes nine returning players who represented the University in the last tournament in 2019 (season 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19).

Aon Uni 7s Squad

Player Course Club
Amy Williams Bachelor of Commerce, UoM Melbourne University RFC
Allyssa Lolesio Pua Melbourne University RFC
Annie Buntine Bachelor of Arts alum Melbourne University RFC
Beauty Autalaga
Caitlin Ryan Master of International Relations alum Melbourne University RFC
Caitlin Quester Bachelor of Science, UoM Melbourne University RFC
Ellen Turner
Emily Wellings Diploma of Mental Health Nursing, UoM Box Hill Quins
Georgia Stewart Bachelor of Science (Honours) Tasmania University
Georgia Cormick Power House
Halley Derera Bachelor of Arts alum Melbourne University RFC
Jade Te Aute VCE, Tarneit Secondary College Power House
Kelera Ratu Bachelor of PE & Sports Science Melbourne University RFC
Kirsty Matapa VCAL The Grange P-12 College Power House
Margaret Etta Masters in Public Health Melbourne University RFC
Melanie Kawa Certificate in Health & Human Services, UoM Melbourne University RFC
Meretiana Robinson Power House
Nadia Oosthuizen JD of Law, UoM Melbourne University RFC
Nawel Remini Power House
Nicole King Box Hill Quins
Sarah Hogan Melbourne University RFC
Sheniqua Taula Western Districts
Tiarah Minns Bachelor of Science, UoM Melbourne University RFC
Tyra Boysen-Auimatagi Northern Panthers
Wynonah Conway Bachelor of Science Hobart Harlequins

Team Manager Samantha Homewood was excited to see the hard work of these players recognised through their inclusion of the squad.

“We had more than 80 girls express interest in the program and over the last three months we’ve narrowed the squad down to the final 25-sqaud that we’ve announced today” she said.

Melbourne’s been placed in the competition’s Queensland Regional Tournament for preliminary games and will compete against the University of Queensland, Bond University, Griffith University and the Adelaide University over the weekends of 27 – 28 March and 10 – 11 April. The NSW Regional Tournament consists of the University of Sydney, the University of Technology Sydney, the University of Canberra and the University of Newcastle.

The top four teams from each regional tournament will progress through to the Aon Uni 7s Final Series over the weekends of 24 - 25 April and 8 - 9 May.