2019 has been a big year for Averyl Mitchell.
The elite rugby player has been playing with the Queensland Reds in the Super W and more recently, she has been selected to represent Australia in the Wallaroos squad. A massive achievement that she describes as her “greatest privilege”.
Mitchell’s talents extend well beyond the sporting field.
She’s also Queensland Rugby Union’s graphic designer, a full-time gig she took on after doing some freelancing work for the club.
“It just means that outside of work and footy – there’s not a huge amount of time left over for anything else,” she told Women’s Agenda recently.
She’s been balancing a hectic training and playing schedule with her graphic design work for some time.
Below, Mitchell tells Women’s Agenda about what it means to her to be in the Wallaroos first squad and how she juggles her schedule.
Congratulations on being named in the Wallaroos first squad! What does it mean to you to have been selected?
Honestly, it’s still pretty surreal. This whole season has been unbelievable. It’s hard to fully put into words what it means because it seems insufficient. It’s such an emotional thing for me.
Being considered to represent Australia is the greatest privilege I think could ever be given to a person. I’m so lucky to have been a part of the Queensland Reds program this year, so to be – in a way – representing them, and everyone who’s been a part of how I’m here – is such an emotional thing and I’m so unbelievably grateful.
What’s it like working with Queensland Rugby Union as a player and then in an off-field capacity through graphic design?
Getting to be around rugby all the time is pretty awesome – although they’re quite different headspaces so I’ve become quite good at switching on and off. It means the commute is really short as well, which is really convenient. It also means that they’re really understanding with things like ducking out to go to the physio if I need to – I feel really lucky to have such a supportive workplace.
Can you tell us a little about some of the most positive impacts rugby has had on you?
Well, pretty much all of my best friends one-way-or-another have come through rugby. It’s been the greatest catalyst for my personal growth and given me a strong sense of purpose and community. I don’t know who or where I’d be without it.
Can you give us some insight into how you juggle playing rugby at an elite level and maintain your graphic design work?
Well, I’ve been working full time in at Queensland Rugby Union for a little while now, after freelancing for them. I juggle it by starting early so I can leave earlier and then prioritising footy over other things in my life. It means that outside of work and footy – there’s not a huge amount of time left over for anything else.
Honestly, I’ve got it a lot easier than a lot of the other women’s players. There are mums in the team who work and have a family as well, while I only have to look after myself. I’m also really lucky as my job isn’t overly physically demanding either – some of the women work shift-work or in jobs that are really full-on physically, like labouring or trades. The resilience and dedication those women show is incredible and inspiring.
What do you hope your career, in both rugby and graphic design, looks like 5 years from now?
Obviously, the dream is always to play footy full time – but failing that, keep working away and exploring different interests in graphic design. There’s so much out there that I haven’t had a chance to learn about yet, so it’s hard to pin down exactly.
Otherwise, the plan is to keep chipping away and just taking things a day at a time. Complete my graphic design degree and see where that takes me.
The excitement is real! Only 1 month to go until the mighty @WallaroosRugby take on Japan in Newcastle on 13 July.
— Wallaroos (@WallaroosRugby) June 12, 2019