WHEN she first came to Curtin University there was no women’s rugby team for her to join, so she trained with the men’s side twice a week.
Now two years on Kristin Fairbairn is a key player on the women’s Curtin Goats rugby team and recently was selected to play for the WA state team.
Having originally come from Canada, Fairbairn, a blind side flanker and open-side and second row player, said rugby in Perth was still developing for women.
“Playing contact sports in Canada is not a novel idea, I still find it off how surprised people were here when I told them I play rugby union,” she said.
“Men and women are surprised I could be so passionate and excited about a sport that requires so much contact and being so physical.”
A seasoned rugby player internationally, Fairbairn first took to the field at 15 years old in high school.
“It was a new program and the coach enticed girls into playing by making a trip to a tournament in North Carolina (USA) for spring break,” she said.
“I remember my first game like it was yesterday and I loved everything about it.”
Following high school Fairbairn went on the make the varsity rugby team at her university and even co-captained in her final year.
After graduating, she moved to Wales and played for a team in Cardiff, secured a place on the regional team and helped the Cardiff Blues win first place before moving down under.
“I started training at Goatland (Curtin University) in 2014, but there was no women’s program at the time so the men’s teams embraced me and allowed me to train with them twice a week,” Fairbairn said.
“The Curtin Rugby Club is about comradery, working hard for your teammates, developing and celebrating.
“It’s one big family and I think that’s why players come back year after year.”
Before she secured her place on the state team, Fairbairn admitted she had been nervous to try out because of the calibre of talent in the team.
“During the first tryout I watched a lot of the drills thinking ‘wow, these girls have got some incredible talent, what am I doing here?’,” she said.
“But the atmosphere is amazing, each woman has the others’ back and we have an awesome coaching and managerial staff.
“I have no doubt we’ll be a massive threat this year in Sydney.”
The WA state women’s team will head to Sydney to compete in June.