Emilee Cherry has beaten off the likes of her captain Rebecca Tavo and Bo de la Cruz to be singled out as Australia's women's Rugby Player of the Year.
A Touch Rugby world champion, Cherry received the award at the John Eales Medal ceremony at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre on 1 November 2012.
Also celebrating her 20th birthday, Cherry tweeted: "Had an absolutely incredible night at the
#JEM . It's one that I will remember for a long time. I couldn't have wished for a better bday present."
Currently still a student, Cherry has also had an impressive year on the Touch Football field, helping her South West Queensland Swans team make the final of the 2012 National Touch League, and being part of the Australian Women’s team that defeated New Zealand in the 2012 Trans Tasman Series.
She also helped guide the Queensland Women to their State of Origin Series win over New South Wales in September, being named Player of the Series, and was Player of the Final when South West Queensland Swans won the 2012 Queensland State Championships.
Since taking up rugby in 2011, Cherry has been an ever-present for Australia's women’s Sevens team and was recently part of the team that won the Asia Pacific Championships in Malaysia.
She recently attended the Gold Coast Sevens, round one of the HSBC Sevens World Series for the finest men's Sevens players in the world, and is now preparing to compete for her country at the first round of the inaugural IRB Women's Sevens World Series, in Dubai.
Here she answers our questions..
1. What was your first rugby experience?
My first rugby experience was at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in September 2011 in camp with the Australian team. It was the first camp for a few of the touch football girls. We did all the skills with them but we also got taken aside and taught how to tackle and all about the laws of the game.
2. And your first match?
My first match was at the Central Coast Sevens in October 2011. It was so much fun and when I made my first tackle I was so surprised that I actually made a tackle I forgot to release the player.
3. When did you know that rugby was what you wanted to do?
When I watched my first Rugby Sevens game I saw how free flowing, quick and fun the game looked and wanted to play straight away.
4. What do you like to eat before a match?
I am really not too fussy, as long as I have a big bowl of cereal in the morning.
5. Which part of training do you dread the most?
We are very lucky that our coach Chris Lane (Laney) and our strength and conditioning coach, Jarrod Presland (JP) keep our trainings very enjoyable and different, but I definitely would have to say I dread the contact sessions the most.
6. What do you like doing outside of rugby?
I play a lot of touch football so between that and rugby the little time I have left I'm usually trying to catch up on my uni work.
7. Who are your sporting idols?
Definitely Darren Lockyer. Growing up in Roma around a Rugby League based family I've always idolised Darren Lockyer both as a player on the field but also as a admirable and inspirational person off the field as well.
8. What is your favourite sporting memory?
Being at Suncorp Stadium for Darren Lockyer's last game for the Broncos, where he kicked the field goal to win the game in the dying seconds, it was absolutely incredible.
9. What are you most looking forward to on this year's Series?
We have a really great squad this year with a great group of girls so I'm really looking forward to getting the opportunity to travel the world with them. The locations that have been set for the series are very exciting and with the great group of girls we have I really can't wait.
10. Who do you think is going to win the first IRB Women's Sevens World Series?
A Sevens series is always going to be very close so it’s tough to pick one team to take out the title. I think whichever team consistently turns up to each tournament ready to play will be in with a chance.