McCarthy gets the squad nod

Fourteen years after being mysteriously dropped from the Australian junior touch team, Trish McCarthy finally makes her international debut this week in New Zealand.

McCarthy, of Stanwell Park, will line up with the Australian women's over 30s team in a trans-Tasman series against the Kiwis.

Also representing Australia are Wollongong-based Jess McCall (open women) and Cara Zaremski and Michael Chapman (mixed open).

McCarthy was set to play for the Australian under-18 team when she was in her final year of high school but was strangely cut from the side at the last minute.

Deeply disappointed at the time, she copped it on the chin and views her rise back to the top as a case of better-late-than-never.

"It's kind of been a long journey," the 32-year-old said.

"Back when I was in year 12 I got selected in the under-18 national team, and the night before my year 12 exams they dropped me from the side.

"They didn't give too much of an explanation. I think it was just a matter of how they were selecting things at the time, but I'm not really sure what happened there.

"I had a couple of years off after that and there was a knee injury along the way. I had a couple of near misses with selections but I did what you have to do to get back there and I'm really happy to be there.

"My brothers played rugby league and I always wanted to be just like them.

"That was kind of the inspiration. Touch is the next best option.

"I think we go in favourites this week and everyone's pretty confident to hang on to the title.

"Hopefully we'll come away with the result we're chasing. It'd be a nice exclamation mark at the end of a long chapter."

McCall, who has played since she was five, is from a family of touch fanatics.

The former St Mary's College student's father Mick is in the Touch Australia Hall of Fame, while her mother and two sisters are all talented players.

"We're all pretty competitive," she said.

"There's lots of sledging and banter, but we can always have a laugh at the end of the day."

McCall said the Aussies were keen to maintain their good record.

"We've only ever lost two games," she said. "There's a bit of pressure that comes with that because you don't want to be the first team to lose a series.

"New Zealand have brought a few people back into their team so it should be a really good series."

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