With the Rebels Super W squad already attracting talent from South Australia and Tasmania, the program can now claim host to a European team mate.
That player is Rebels fullback Camille Chamodon. Originally born in Switzerland before growing up in France, Chamodon is now on the cusp of becoming the first Swiss born player to make the Rebels’ Super W team.
While some people would think moving across the other side of the world without family or friends as support would be a challenging and gruelling thing, Chamodon says she could not be happier with her move to Melbourne.
“I always wanted to move overseas in an English-speaking country,” Chamodon said.
“I first came to Australia in 2011 for three months to learn English, and I really liked it and I wanted to come back.“
"Melbourne is pretty similar to Europe, except the people are more chill here than back in France, so I prefer the way of life here.”
Chamodon’s pathway to trialling with the Rebels started when she decided to give rugby a go after watching her father play the sport for multiple years.
After playing mixed rugby for several years, Chamodon took the next step to play with Top 14 club Stade Français in their women’s team.
Her form for the professional rugby outfit impressed her home nation’s rugby coaches, with Chamodon earning representative honours in Switzerland’s National Women’s side.
After a promising start to her rugby career though, Chamodon succumbed to injuries which forced her out of the game for four and a half years.
Now as she gets back into the groove of playing the game she loved for so long, Chamodon says her experience with the Rebels Super W team has only reinforced her love for rugby.
Chamodon says she’s also enjoyed the way rugby is played in Australia compared to what the cultural practice is in France.
“I’d say the biggest difference is the team spirit,” Chamodon said.
“Everyone here gets a touch when we finish a drill or do anything in training, whereas in France the culture is you sort of injure your friends in training, so they won’t be able to play, and you can take their spot."
“Not everyone is like that, but the higher you play there, the more it’s like that which I didn’t like.”
While Chamodon has now been a regular in the Super W side’s preseason campaign, the 24-year-old almost decided to play another form of rugby.
For the first six months of her stay in Australia, Chamodon trialled and played for the Victorian Rugby League’s State Women’s side.
However, after being given an ultimatum of having to choose one sport over the other, Chamodon says picking to stay union was an easy choice.
“My rugby heart lies with union,” she said.
“In the Victorian state team in league, they’ve got good coaches, but here it’s more professional."
“We do train four times a week here which is great and we have extra things like a strength and conditioning coach which is great.”
“I think they’re more opportunities for women to play at a higher level in union than in league.”
With her sights now set on making the most of her opportunity in rugby union, it’s all systems go for Chamodon to press her case as a final 30-player squad member.
And while there’s still a lot of hard work to go before her ambitions are fulfilled, it hasn’t stopped the agile back from daring to dream.
“I’d be proud to make it from what was 100 girls in the beginning to then make the final 30 player squad,” she said.
“It’d be really good as well to come back after not playing the sport you love for four and a half years then to play high level rugby only six months later.
“Hopefully I can take everything I learn here and take it back to France.”