Mia-Rae Clifford has hit the ground running in her first pre-season campaign with the Melbourne Rebels Super W program.
Clifford has embarked on a fifteens career after crossing-codes from AFLW, where she represented the Melbourne Demons, Geelong and the Fremantle Dockers, while also Captaining Essendon to a VFLW premiership earlier this year.
Rebels Media spoke to the versatile Clifford following the completion of her side’s opening Super W pre-season block.
RM: Mia-Rae Clifford - that’s as wrap on your first taste of Super W rugby for 2022. How have you found the transition to rugby following such a successful AFLW career?
I’ve had an absolute ball to be honest. Having had AFL training for the past 13 years of my life, so this change has been great. I’m enjoying what JR (Jason Rogers) has mapped out for me. It’s been amazing the physicality of it all, and watching how hard the girls work.
RM:What have been some of your learnings working with our new coaching core?
I was very lucky to have worked with JR in the recent Sevens tournament. They way he coaches is all about fight and heart and I absolutely admire that, and that type of passion is what I really want to for.
The passion Silei brings and her attention to details on the one percenters no matter who you are or where you’ve come from, is second to none.
Luke’s strategic planning and the way he sees the game and your role as players is incredible.
It’s really exciting working with these three coaches because they all compliment each other, and the family and team vibe makes you really want to put in the hard yards and do all you can for your teammates and the coaching staff.
RM:What skills do you think are transferable from the AFLW field to Super W?
I’ve always wanted to try rugby. I’ve been mates with Meretiana Robinson for years and have come to watch her play and always wanted to be a part of it. This year, the timing opened up for me, so I thought why not.
The attributes from AFL are transferable to rugby, such as reading of the ball when it’s in the air and kicking the ball, which was a big part of my game playing as a centre half-forward.
Another skill is the ability to mark in packs, and use your body in the air, which is crucial to our game. I do love hitting people as well and embracing the physical side of the game as well.