Super W Player Profile: Meretiana Robinson

· Super W
by Rebels Media

The 30-year-old full back impressed fans with her agility, speed and ball handling abilities in the inaugural season of the women’s competition last year.

So it’s no wonder why Robinson’s consistent performances in the Rebels’ backline may lead some to think she has been playing rugby all of her life.

However, the New Zealand native initially had other sporting dreams which she wanted to pursue.

“I wanted to play a sport where I identified a pathway which I could get into and that’s why I did athletics,” Robinson said.

“I wanted to be an Olympian and the most obvious way to be an Olympian is when you see them mostly in athletics.”

Chasing a dream career in athletics whilst growing up in the lakeside town of Rotorua, Robinson achieved some very impressive feats.

Robinson found her niche in high jump, which became the focal point of her athletic endeavours.

While being a relatively short high jumper standing at 166cm, it didn’t deter Robinson who still managed to place third in high jump at consecutive national championships.

While Robinson was making strides in the junior track and field world in New Zealand, Robinson left her Olympic ambitions to take up another sport which had caught her interest due to her parents’ involvement in the game.

“I did ten pin bowling competitively because my parents represented New Zealand, so I’ve travelled all over the world with that, so it was just natural I followed them and did it competitively too,” Robinson said.

And just like her athletic performances, her ten-pin bowling form catapulted her to instant success in highly competitive competitions, which almost resulted in Robinson qualifying for one of junior sports’ highest honours.

“I won the Junior and Youth Nationals as well,” Robinson said.

“Upon winning the Junior and Youth New Zealand title, that was the same year the commonwealth games were hosted in Malaysia and the host nation was able to add a sport and they added ten pin bowling to the games that year.”

“I earned a place to trial for the youth commonwealth games team, but me under pressure at that young age I choked, and I didn’t end up making the team.”

For those who live across the Tasman sea, Meretiana’s last name of Robinson may seem like a familiar surname.

That’s because her father is one of New Zealand’s most prestigious cultural artists who is also internationally acclaimed.

“My dad is Fayne Robinson, he’s a master carver in New Zealand based on Maori artwork,” Robinson said.

“Growing up I never really appreciated how good he was because I was like yeah that’s what dad does, but he’s carved Marae which is a Maori Meeting House… that’s something which is going to be there for hundreds and hundreds of years and it’s a significant focal point for tribes.”

While her dad has carved a name for himself as an artist, Robinson is now the one who is etching her name into the Australian rugby landscape.

Robinson has been elected as co-captain with Sharlene Fagalilo and is poised to lead the Super W side into a promising season.

While the appointment as co-leader of the side may have caught her off-guard, Robinson says she did enter the season with some aspirations of being a senior figure around her younger peers.

And now she’s ready to take the responsibilities the role encompasses as she hopes to become a positive role model for her teammates.

“It’s a huge honour and incredibly humbling,” she said.

“I did come into training wanting to show my leadership knowing we’ve got a lot of young girls coming through and also setting the example of what it takes to be an elite athlete and having that elite mind set.”

With that ambition as her mindset, Robinson is keen to show the rest of the competition how far women’s rugby has come since last season’s year of learning in the inaugural Super W competition.

And Robinson is quietly confident that five months of solid preseason work has left the team in good shape to attack 2019.

“I’m just excited to see the improvement and show the improvement of how far we’ve come from last year,” she said.

“Just being at training, knowing the girls from last year and what we are doing this year is vastly different.”

“I want to be leading from the front and inspiring other girls to also put in that same effort to be the best they can.”