By Oliver Lees
With only 12 months of rugby union experience under her belt, Macedon prodigy May Elder has been selected in the Melbourne Rebels 34-woman squad for the Super W season.
Prior to moving to Australia from Fiji in 2018, Elder said she was not permitted to play rugby despite her keen interest in the sport.
“In Fiji rugby is a really big thing,” she said.
“But when I was growing up girls weren’t allowed to play rugby, so I was never given that opportunity.
“That was mainly pressure from the community, but since moving here my family has been really supportive of me.
“A friend of mine said they were going to play but they didn’t want to do it without me, and so I decided to join.”
Since arriving in Australia Elder has played netball for Macedon and football for Gisborne.
At the Bulldogs she was awarded the 2018 youth girls rookie of the year and was runner up in the 2019 AFL Goldfields senior best and fairest.
Elder said she was approached by a Melbourne Rebels scout after one of her matches for Power House, a rugby union club based in St Kilda.
“It was really shocking to be approached, it feels like a big accomplishment,” she said.
“Playing netball I would get pinned a lot for too much contact, people would say I was playing the wrong sport and maybe they were right.”
The Super W competition first ran in 2018.
The NSW Waratahs have dominated the competition’s early history, winning the championship for three consecutive years.
In 2020 the season was cancelled after just four rounds due to COIVD-19 restrictions impeding play and the Waratahs were crowned champions as they sat undefeated on top of the ladder.
The 2021 Super W season kicked off earlier this month with the Rebels going down to the Brumbies 5 to 30 in their first match.
Speaking before the Rebels’ match against the Queensland Reds on June 27, Elder said despite having not played a professional match yet, she had already learnt a lot from joining the team.
“Compared to playing for a local club it’s way more intense given the level of skill that there is,” she said.
“The captain of the team [Melanie Kawa] and I play the same position, so I’m trying to shadow her, she’s been playing for 15 years,” she said.
“She’s a really good communicator, that’s a big part of the game that I need to improve on, it motivates me to try and improve.
“In the long term my ultimate goal would be to make the national squad, either for Wallaroos or for Fiji.”