It doesn’t get much tougher than Rugby Union – especially when it comes to the Aussie Wallabies squad! This month, The Tradie sat down for a chat with Wallabies recruit Joe Powell to find out more about how he got his shot at the big time in footy…
Tell us about your journey in football – how did the dream start for you?
I started playing Rugby in the Under 10s at the Marist College in Canberra and then I played for ACT from Under 12s to Under 18s. When I finished school I went to the Canberra Vikings club, then played for Australia in the Under 20s side. I got to go with the Brumbies last and this year, and then I got a call to head into the Wallabies squad a few week ago.
That’s a pretty cool journey! Is football a big deal in your family?
My dad and my younger and older brothers all played footy, so yeah. Dad really got me into playing Rugby. I remember from a young age we would always go and watch the Brumbies play as a family, so I’ve always been a member at the club. Footy is a big part of the family.
What was it like getting the news about being selected to play for the Wallabies?
I thought it was a joke (laughs)! I actually got an email saying I was selected in the squad but I hadn’t heard from anyone that it was even a potential opportunity. Plus, I had only played a couple of games, so it wasn’t on the cards! It was a huge surprise though and I was pretty happy. The selection was made randomly from a wider squad after the Super Rugby and I guess there weren’t that many halfbacks playing that well, so they went out on a whim and gave me a go out of nowhere (laughs)!
What are your favourite and least favourite things about playing your position as halfback?
My favourite thing is that I don’t have to do much tackling and I get to stay out of everything, so there’s also not many injuries or anything like that. My least favourite thing would have to be the amount of running involved – the amount of kilometres per game isn’t that really enjoyable!
How do you stay focused when it comes to training and the idea of getting out on the field?
I’ve spent a week and a half in training camps in Queensland and a few half weeks in Sydney, but the preparation isn’t that different to training with the Brumbies. Getting to know everyone was probably the hardest part. It’s really exciting, though, because as a kid you dream to play for the Wallabies so when it became a realistic opportunity it was really cool.
What have you experienced so far with the Wallabies squad?
The Wallabies just completed a 3-test series against England and that was the squad I was in there for. I’m also playing at the end of the year for Rugby Championships and other games.
How do you feel the team is going this season, from an insider’s perspective?
Behind the walls it’s like any other footy team, except with high profile players, which can make it a little more serious. There’s always times where we have a bit of fun, though. They’re just a really good bunch of blokes and it’s a good experience.
What’s your training regime like?
On the average day we have a morning unit session, so the backs and forwards split up. After that is a gym session, then a bit of a break in the middle, then a team session in the afternoon. We’d usually follow that with a day off.
Because our readers are tradesmen and women throughout Australia everyone will be keen to know that you’re also a carpenter in the making! Is this something you’ll go back to later in your life?
Yeah, I started my apprenticeship as a carpenter but it’s not something I will be able to continue while doing footy – it’s just not possible. What I am doing, though, is going to university and I want to study something relating to construction. I’m planning to study by correspondence with the University of Southern Queensland.
What would you say to other tradies wanting to kick some of their own goals?
Keep working hard and if you’ve got a dream, go for it!