Hamilton balances footy with school

HAILING from the regional New South Wales city of Wagga Wagga, Murray BushrangersZara Hamilton is no stranger to travel. The hard-running wing had an outstanding season in her bottom-age year last year, and is also a member of the GIANTS Academy. Her story is one of determination, overcoming long drives and juggling her fledgling footy career with a blossoming academic future.

“I started playing footy in about Year 8 I think with the school CIS team,” Hamilton said. “There wasn’t much footy where I live in Wagga Wagga which is in regional NSW, but I started playing in the CIS team in Year 8 and 9 and then got into the NSW team which was a great opportunity and lead my to Bushies which is where I am now. “Playing with Bushrangers and GWS GIANTS Academy which is good mix.”

Over the journey, Hamilton has represented the NSW-ACT Under 16s, and would be eligible for Allies selection this year. Getting to this point has been far from easy, with 10-hour return trips between Wagga Wagga and Melbourne.

“I’m kind of used to the travelling now,” Hamilton said. “I just got my licence so I’m able to bring myself up a few times, but dad and mum are the real lifesavers there, they bring me up every week, so it’s pretty good.”

The Bushrangers talent admitted the border closures between New South Wales and Victoria were “pretty hard” due to restricted training with her teammates, but she is hopeful that they will remain open from now on. Hitting preseason hard, Hamilton said she had a nice mixed training with both the Bushrangers and GIANTS.

“I think I’ve got a really good base fitness, which I’m hoping to continue with. I think my skills have been looking good, I hope to improve on them as well,” she said. “But I think I’m pretty keen to start the season and kick off.”

Hamilton describes her love for running and it suits her favourite position perfectly. In 2022, her goal is to improve her inside presence and contested work.

“Yeah I love the wing, it gives me the opportunity to run the whole time and keep running,” Hamilton said. “Endurance is one of my strengths I think. “I love the wing, It gives me lots to work with.

“I think definitely my physicality and strength, body strength as well as speed (are improvements). “Also just contested marking is one of my weaknesses so I’d love to bring that up this season.”

As for her set goals for 2022, Hamilton had one main focus on her mind, but she also has her life mapped out off the field.

“My biggest goal is to get drafted with footy,” Hamilton said. “That’s one of my biggest dreams and I hope to work towards that. But also with school, I’m hoping to get a 90 ATAR to go and do physio, so school and footy are my biggest priorities right now.”

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