Tue, Apr 23, 2024, 8:37 AM
Nathan Williamson

The Wallaroos are embracing the 'curious' atmosphere that will await them in camp under new coach Jo Yapp.

Yapp will name her first Wallaroos squad next week as they get together before their Pacific Four opener against Canada on May 11.

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The Wallaroos celebrated a six-year partnership with Cadbury as the 'principal partner', continuing the increase in investment in the squad after an extra $3 million was announced at the start of the season.

These gradual steps are heading towards the eventual full-time professionalism of the program, with Yapp eager to create those habits now.

“There’s loads of growth within this squad (left) and being full-time is one part of that. What you need to do with full time is make sure there are really good high-performance behaviours happening and good attitudes," she told reporters.

“We’ve been working to support those players with the data we share with them around analysis and S and C to drive the standards because getting paid is one thing but then we need to be able to increase that level of training intensity with it."

The introduction of the first full-time female coach to the Wallaroos has led to several players awaiting her influence over their group with excitement.

“It’s a clean slate for everyone now and I think that’s where the curiosity comes from...it’s about a positive curiosity, it means that there’s no complacency," Brumbies and Wallaroos back-rower Siokapesi Palu told Rugby.com.au

“We’re driving that professionalism so you’re either in and you’re going 120% or you’re out.

“…(Jo Yapp) seems like someone who wants to make sure we drive that professionalism and it’s not that we haven’t had it previously, but it probably wasn’t driven the way we’re starting to identify what it’s supposed to be like now.

“I think once we start acting like top tier teams, you’ll probably get that from us now."

“There’s been an immense impact, she’s such a strong individual and she brings high performance. The way she views the game and environment, I think she’s already made an impact," fellow backrower and Waratahs captain Piper Duck added.

“The vibes are curious, they’re curious for change, opportunity and growth and I think that’s going to be really apparent in the next 12 months and leading into the World Cup.

“I think when you’re playing for your country it’s such a privilege and honour and we’ve spoke about what our task is that pressure is a privilege

“It should be a competition to pull on those gold jerseys and aren’t just handed out. I think that level of curiosity and that level of fight is so important. I think we have the Australian way is to have that fighting nature and I really love seeing that throughout the group.”

The players understand that the growing funding and resources will lead to a similar rise in expectations.

Wins like against France and Wales in WXV are part of the expectations of a Wallaroos team that wants to be consistently competing with the best in the world.

“We’ve asked for the funding and investment into the program, we’ve got it so now it’s the practical part of putting it into practice," Palu stated

“We have to step up and match what’s being invested and needs to be a good product…the reality is that we now actually have to perform. We’re entering a very high-performing environment with new coaching and standards and it’s exciting to drive that professionalism over the next few years. “…“We always probably were sitting below those top teams and that heart and ticker is what drove us over and got those wins. Now that we have the right resourcing and tools under our belt to perform, it’s now about doing it and believing it.”