Teenager earns full-time sevens contract
RUGBY SEVENS: After being rushed into the Australian squad for the Fiji International Sevens earlier this month, Emma Sykes has now been rewarded for a stunning debut with a full-time contract in 2017.
The multi-talented athlete from Sippy Downs will move to Sydney in the new year to start training full time at Narrabeen.
She has also been included in the squad to travel to Dubai this Friday ahead of round 1 of the HSBC World Series Sevens.
Sykes, 18, spent the early years of her life in Ipswich before her family relocated to the Coast.
She went through the touch football program at Chancellor State College and has participated in a number of sports.
She said the past two months had been a blur.
"I've probably been at home for four days in the past two months,” she said.
"Every time I get home they call me back down for training.”
Not that she's worried.
She was thrust into the senior side - which won gold at the Rio Olympics in August - while the "world's best player” Charlotte Caslick fought through a niggling injury.
She can't even remember which team she faced when she went onto the park for her debut match.
"I didn't really think about it,” she said.
"I had to kind of get out there and do my job and knew it would be okay.”
Head coach Tim Walsh provided Sykes with some sound advice which she said helped get her through.
"He basically said go for it. 'If you see something you want to do, do it, act like the boss',” she said.
"It's a bit daunting coming into the side ... you don't want to boss people around.”
Sykes said she "loved” being involved during one of the most exciting times for women's sport in Australia.
"I've been playing sport since I was a little girl and I can't picture life without it.”