After Two Women’s Rugby World Cups, Two Super W Championships and countless personal accolades, Ash Hewson has confirmed that she won’t be returning for Super W in 2020.
The inspirational skipper has chosen to hang up the boots after amassing an incredible sporting CV spanning multiple codes.
Hewson’s service in Wallaroo Gold and Waratah Blue has been nothing short of distinguished, characterised by her incredible skill, heart and passion for the game.
She has been the centre of some memorable moments for the NSW Waratahs Women since the inception of Super W some three years ago, leaving an incredible legacy for the next generation of Super W players.
We spoke to a few people around NSW Rugby who paid tribute to Hewson.
Matt Evrard, Super W Head Coach 2019
“I think she’s such a good example for all the other girls around how much time she puts into her game. Ash has pretty much got the full skill set needed for players of her position, and that’s because she puts so much time into extras in key areas,” Evrard said.
“That commitment and attitude has rubbed off onto other players, I now see them putting in those extras and refining their skills because they’ve learnt from her.
“It didn’t matter what level of competition, what game it was, she was always able to step up and deliver in the big moments.
“I still think back to that first season of Super W where she was unsure of how much longer she wanted to play, and she copped a pretty significant shoulder injury in the first game – playing through a lot of pain for the entire season.
“For her to come up with a season-saving tackle on that shoulder just speaks to her character and her willingness to put everything on the line for the team.”
Erin Morton, Super W Team Manager
“Ash hangs up the boots as an inspiration to all rugby players past, present and future,” Morton said.
“Her exploits on field are there for all to see, she played above her weight, oozed skill and relished the pressure moments.
“It was the off field growth that I‘ve seen in Ash that I’m most proud of, what she has shown as a leader has been inspirational and invaluable to all she has played alongside and shared her rugby journey with.
“Rugby in NSW is better because of Ash.”
Emily Robinson, Super W teammate
“I’ve played with Ash for a long time and her passion and competitiveness is something that’s she’s always brought to any game she’s played in,” Robinson said.
“Her passion for the Wallaroos and Waratahs jersey and the pride she has in representing her state and country has been an example for all of us and it’s been a big influence on anyone she’s played alongside.
“Her kicking is something that sets her apart and there’s few in the women’s game who can do what she can do – I’ve seen her singlehandedly take teams apart with her boot.
“Ash has given so much back to the game here in NSW, with the young girls coming through looking up to her and aspiring to be like her on and off the field.”
Campbell Aitken, incoming Super W Head Coach
“Ash is without doubt the driving force behind women playing rugby in NSW. She’s been a role model for a number of years which is testament to her love for the game,” Aitken said.
“First and foremost, Ash is a winner, she doesn’t accept poor standards and drives everyone around her to succeed which speaks to her qualities as a leader.
“She’s still good enough to player at this [Super W] level and if she’d made herself available she would’ve been picked that’s for sure, but she understands and recognises the opportunity for young players to come through.
“Every time she takes the field as an opposing coach [Aitken coaches Eastern Suburbs in club rugby] your heart sinks a little because what she brings to the game and the way she lifts those around her.
“I’m glad to see the back of her in the Jack Scott Cup and I think a few other coaches will be as well!
“We’ll miss her around the group this season and no doubt the girls will be looking to make her proud in 2020.”