Shanti Kennedy’s sporting talent has taken her from the athletics track to the cricket pitch to the touch football field to the basketball court.
Now she is making her mark on the rugby field.
The 15-year-old will play for the National Indigenous Youth Girls team at the National 7s Championships, which kick-off in Brisbane on Friday.
It has been a rapid progression for the Carinya Year 9 student, who only picked up a rugby ball for the first time 12 months ago.
Similar to Central North under-15s team-mate Jada Taylor, who will play for NSW at the championships, Kennedy’s first taste of rugby was the Tamworth Summer 7s.
“I started to play then and really loved it,” she said.
From there she was invited to trial for the Central North under-15s side for the Country Championships.
The Kookaburras went on to win the tournament, Kennedy’s performances seeing her named in the Country development squad.
“It was more training. We didn’t play any games but it was a really good experience,” she said.
In October she suited up for the Kookaburras again, helping them finish third at the State 7s Championships at Forster.
Encouraged by her Kookaburras 7s coach Dave Maher, Kennedy two weekends later attended the Lloyd McDermott Development Camp held in Armidale. Impressing there she was successful in earning selection in the side for the nationals.
The biggest stage she’s played on, she said it will be pretty special to pull on the jersey and represent her culture.
“I’m really nervous but really excited to go up there,” she said.
Kennedy is the youngest in the side, and could potentially play for them for another three years.
It won’t be her first time stepping into the representative environment.
Also a talented basketballer, she has over the years been selected in numerous rep sides and was last year selected to participate in the Country Development Tour.
Playing a lot of touch as well growing up, she said both sports have helped with the transition – basketball with the fitness side and touch “moving the ball around and finding gaps for other people”.
In her younger days she also competed at state level in athletics and padded up for the North West primary cricket side.
Kennedy was also part of the Emu Woman’s side that played at the National Indigenous Football Championships.
The 7s championships will be played at Ballymore.
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