When Simone Hepburn pulls on the maroon for the Women’s over 45 Queensland team in the Touch Football State of Origin next week, she’ll be celebrating an impressive 35 years in the sport.
Getting her first taste for representing Queensland as a schoolgirl, Hepburn has been a mainstay around the touch fields and will once again have the opportunity to represent Queensland in the over 45s women’s team at the Touch Football State of Origin being held in Coffs Harbour from 19-20 August 2022.
Like many, touch football has been a family affair for Hepburn, with her dad, Paul Eggers, igniting her passion for the sport. Paul was one of the ‘founding fathers’ of Touch Football, being instrumental in the inception and development of Touch Football from the 70s.
“I grew up on the sidelines of touch, while Dad volunteered on the administrative side, and was inspired by all the legends of the 80s and 90s….the Norman’s, the Notley’s, the Brindall brothers, the McWhirter sisters.
“For me to represent Queensland feels like I’m respecting my dad’s legacy and helping him keep up with the progress of the modern game”
“The friendships and laughs are what has kept me in the sport I now play and laugh with my kids or with girls I’ve known for more than 30 years.
“The other reason I keep playing is the continual challenge the sport brings as it evolves and always learning new ways to play, that keeps things interesting…and keeps the body moving.
“The game has changed a lot since the 90’s and the way modern touch football is played now and the strategies and skills, it has evolved dramatically,” she said.
With the final preparations being made for the ultimate grudge match, Queensland versus New South Wales, Hepburn said it will be about bringing energy and learning from each game.
“We are expecting them to play smart, come out hard and adapt from games 1 through to 3.
With touch football known for its ability to retain participants throughout their life, Hepburn represents the growing interest in playing touch among women 40 years and over.
Hepburn said it’s thanks to Queensland women like Haylene Grogan, that more women have the chance to continue to compete at a high level in the sport in their older years.
“I’ve been inspired by the likes of Haylene to keep playing… she is a massive advocate for women in sport.
“She pushed for the first ever Queensland over 45 women’s team and now herself will also line up again in the first over 50+ team.”