ALMOST THERE: Annika Middleton is close to making it two straight years in the CQ squad.
ALMOST THERE: Annika Middleton is close to making it two straight years in the CQ squad. Contributed

Pushing to make final cut

IT'S now a nervous wait for a young woman to see if she makes the final cut of an elite representative squad.

Annika Middleton was recently selected in the intermediate 15 girl squad for the Central Queensland Bushrangers Rugby 7s squad, after successful trials in Rockhampton and Emerald.

With the State Champs at the end of September, Middleton will be working hard to ensure she makes the final 12 player squad.

"It's amazing to be selected amongst so many talented girls,” Middleton said.

"I will be putting in a lot of hard work at training to push myself and make sure I don't get cut.

"It's amazing that people from rural towns get to have experiences like these.”

Middleton made the U17 squad last year annd played at the State Champs under coach Trevor Robertson who has had a lot of involvement with Annika's rugby development.

"I coach Brothers in Rockhampton and run development sessions for the girls and she's come to quite a few of those and played in carnivals with Brothers,” Robertson said.

"She works very hard.

"She's quite skilful and keen to work hard on parts of our game.

"She asks for feedback and goes away to put it into place.”

Robertson, who this year will coach the U15s Bushrangers squad, said that Annika had to come back better this year to make the squad.

"I think she's been prominent amongst the girls that have been involved,” Robertson said.

"I will say the standard has well and truly improved though.

"There were a number of girls that made it last year that missed out this year.

"I would suggest that the girls that have been picked again have gotten a lot better from last year.”

Annika's mother Kristy said her daughter was relentless in chasing success.

"She's very driven and passionate,” Middleton said.

"She doesn't go in half-hearted with anything, so I'm very proud of her achievement.

"She would like to pursue her rugby, whether that's through university that would be an option.”

Annika hopes she can make the most of the experience

"I want to push myself as far my talent goes and experience all of that coming from a rural town where we don't always get these opportunities,” Middleton said.

The Girls State Champs for Rugby 7s is generally a round robin tournament with teams from Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and North Queensland competing over two days.

If she makes the final squad, Annika will play the State Champs on the Gold Coast, September 26-27.

Annika will take part in training in Rockhampton and Mackay and attend a few trial games as the date gets closer for practice as a team with the Central Queensland Bushrangers.