Despite having played the game for just three years, Gunnedah’s Jacqui Jones’ natural talent on the oztag field has seen a rapid rise to the national ranks.
Jones’ early sporting background laid in tennis before she switched to the team sport – firstly leaguetag then oztag.
Two seasons back Jones was a part of the women’s Northern NSW Bears over 27 squad before she made the switch to the mixed senior side as a number of other Bears decided to make the switch.
It proved to be the right decision with Jones – along with Tamworth’s Daniel and Mandy Sullivan, and Tiffany and Tim Walsh – being picked in the national team for the World Cup at Coffs Harbour in November.
Jones thought the style of oztag the Bears’ played directly impacted how many were chosen in the national side.
“In other teams, the women are used as workhorses where our team – the Northern Bears – we worked really well together and the boys really utilised us,” Jones said.
“I honestly think that’s why three girls [from the Bears] got chosen in the Australian team and two are shadows – because we were used for our ability rather than just being workhorses.”
While Jones initially started playing in the mixed side at a representative level to continue playing with teammates who had made the switch, the Gunnedah oztag player said she has enjoyed the challenge of the mixed competition.
“It’s rougher, I guess that’s the biggest thing,” Jones said when asked of the difference between mixed and women’s oztag.
“The men treat you like men. Also the skill level in mixed is much higher.
“It’s been a good challenge to play against the men. It’s good to get around them, too.”
With the World Cup not until November, the players will be given a training schedule but Jones will also be keeping busy on the local front.
She’ll play or train – playing touch football and oztag – six times a week before the World Cup hits.
“It’s going to be such a great challenge to play all the different countries,” she said.
“And like in any sport, when you're playing with people in Sydney they just seem to pick you up and you learn so much.”