Lillyann Mason-Spice makes move from Forbes to Dubbo Kangaroos

MOVING: Lillyann Mason-Spice, pictured for the University of Canberra last year, now calls Dubbo home. Photo: RUGBYAU MEDIA/KAREN WATSON
MOVING: Lillyann Mason-Spice, pictured for the University of Canberra last year, now calls Dubbo home. Photo: RUGBYAU MEDIA/KAREN WATSON

Lillyann Mason-Spice might have laughed when said she's currently "crying myself to sleep every night" but the disappointment is real.

It should be an incredibly exciting time for the teenage star as she's just returned from playing in a sevens tournament in New Zealand, has been part of her first Super W campaign with the all-conquering NSW Waratahs, and is gearing up for a 2020 season with the Dubbo Kangaroos.

But after being part of a First Nations squad in New Zealand last week she's now, while completely healthy, currently serving a mandatory 14 days in precautionary quarantine as the battle against the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Mason-Spice's move from Forbes to Dubbo is one of the biggest of the off-season in any code but her debut is on hold for now.

Earlier this week Rugby Australia announced all competition, training and participation was on hold until at least the first week of May and while it's far from ideal, training alone is something Mason-Spice is accustomed to given she's been a part of countless elite representative squads in recent years.

"I'll do work by myself like normal," she said.

"I've done individual training a lot anyway but it's sad there won't be that team environment at the moment."

Being around the Roos team is something Mason-Spice has savoured in recent months.

The move from Forbes to Dubbo wasn't based on rugby, it was more about making the move from home to a bigger centre with more opportunity.

But linking up with a new-look Roos women's outfit working under former Super Rugby champion Beau Robinson has been a bonus.

"I've loved Roos training and the way the whole program is run. It's all team-based with the men and women in together," she said.

"The way Beau runs it is different to other coaches too, he pushes you to the max and that's good.

"It's a huge bonus and is for all the girls. A lot of them are only just starting rugby and Beau's knowledge is really good."

Mason-Spice racked up accolade after accolade in 2019.

The highlight was her selection in the Australia A squad which took part in the Oceania Rugby Women's Championships.

She earned selection in that side after being named player of the tournament during Central West's unbeaten run to the country championships title while she was also named in Rugby Australia's Dream Big Time Indigenous development squad and starred during the Forbes Platypi's run to the Westfund Ferguson Cup semi-finals.

To get into that environment really opens your eyes up and shows that anything is possible.

Lillyann Mason-Spice on Super W

If or when the 2020 season starts Mason-Spice might miss the odd game due to her representative commitments but she's excited to think what the Dubbo team coached by Kieran Smith and Gus McDonald can achieve.

Last season was the Roos' first in the Westfund Ferguson Cup but the likes of Mason-Spice and Janalee Conroy add plenty to a core group headlined by Kim Fyfe and Alahna Ryan.

Mason-Spice, Ryan, and Conroy currently all live together now and have spent plenty of time in each other's company previously.

The former two were part of the University of Canberra squad which contested last year's Aon Uni Sevens competition while they took Conroy to the nation's capital and she earned a spot in the club's development side.

Mason-Spice earned a spot in the Waratahs' Super W squad from there, something she said she was "over the moon" about.

"To get into that environment really opens your eyes up and shows that anything is possible," she said.

"It gives me a lot of motivation but a lot of my motivation comes from Gus McDonald.

"He gets the best out of me and Alahna and Janalee. He's great and so is the encouragement from my family."

This story Lillyann's lockdown not hampering excitement around Roos switch first appeared on Daily Liberal.