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By Tom Primmer
Rugby isn’t just a sport for the Nasser family, it’s a culture.
Brendon Nasser played 43 matches for Queensland and eight tests for the Wallabies, while his son, Josh, recently signed a developing squad contract with the St.George Queensland Reds after impressing for University of Queensland and the Junior Wallabies
But this weekend, it’s another member of the Nasser family who will take centre stage, with 16-year old Bella making her Queensland debut at the Youth Girls Sevens National Championships at Ballymore.
Bella took up Sevens Rugby just two years ago but has since risen rapidly through the representative ranks, the 16-year-old now selected in the Queensland Red side ahead of this weekend’s tournament.
“I played touch from a young age before I took up Sevens,” Bella said.
“After watching the Olympics in 2016 I was really inspired by the team and girls like Charlotte Caslick so I jumped straight into Rugby and I’ve loved it from the get-go.”
Considering her pedigree, it’s no surprise Bella’s transition to Sevens was a smooth one.
“Rugby is a real culture in our family,” she said.
“Since I was little we’ve always been out kicking the ball with Dad and he’s always wanted the best for us.
“He always made sure we were having fun and taught us a lot.”
Although Nasser senior was part of Australia’s Rugby World Cup victory in 1991, Bella isn’t always inclined to take his advice these days.
“The game has changed a bit since he played, and I do listen sometimes, but usually it’s more my coach’s perspective I listen to.”
Big brother Josh is another major influence on her career.
Bella often shares the training paddock with the 19-year-old, 114kg prop, the pair working on their fitness together.
“Josh is a massive influence on my Rugby,” she said.
“We do a lot of fitness training together and he always lets me know what I’m doing right and what I need to work on.”
Her older sibling’s advice has obviously worked, with Bella’s Queensland selection giving her the chance to one day achieve her goal of following in the footsteps of Caslick and the Australian Sevens side.
Caslick, who like Bella attended Brisbane State High School, has been a major factor in Bella’s affinity for Sevens.
“Ever since the Rio Olympics I’ve looked up to her.
“She played touch football herself and then went to Sevens and is someone I really want to be like when I’m older.
“My goal looking forward is definitely representing Australia in the Olympics and in World Series Sevens, it would be a massive honour pull on an Australian jersey if I ever get the chance.”
Youth Girls Sevens Head Coach Luke Zeremes firmly believes that it’s an honour Bella could one day achieve.
“She was really impressive at state championships for Brisbane and then at All-Schools Sevens where she was named player of the carnival,” Zeremes said.
“She’s a strong girl, and really skilful and quick.
“She’s the full package really.”
Despite her lofty future ambitions, Bella’s current focus is firmly on taking out this weekend’s tournament with Queensland Red.
“I’m so excited to play.
“All three Queensland teams are looking really strong in the lead-up to the tournament and we are definitely aiming to come out with the top three positions overall.
Bella and her Queensland Red teammates will come up against NSW White and the National Indigenous side in their pool, with the side hoping to make it three consecutive titles for Queensland.
16 FEBRUARY 2019