The All Blacks may have the Barrett brothers, but the Tasman Mako women’s rugby side has the Silcock sisters.
And all three have very different skills. Tessa is the speedster, Katie the powerhouse and Tamara the workhorse. But all three have been selected in the Mako for their first season of provincial footy together.
Tessa, 25, plays wing or fullback while the more physically imposing pair of Tamara 22, and Katie 23, play in the pack.
The women say they complement each other’s games perfectly with pace, strength and endurance their individual attributes.
Since leaving Motueka High School, the girls’ playing careers took a backseat as Katie started a family and Tessa went to Victoria University.
With Katie taking 2017 off to have her third child while Tessa was focussed on her business, 2018 will be the sisters’ first season in Mako together.
The sister’s selection is the culmination of years of blood and sweat. While Tessa says she never needed much encouragement to pick up the oval ball, her playing days got off to a comical start.
“I began playing when I was four and I quit when I was five because I scored a try at the wrong end.”
Katie’s career began when she was eight and “smashed the boys” right from the start. “I loved it, I just wanted to hurt them.”
Tamara’s love for the game developed a little later. “I was forced to play a bit, my junior team lost every single game so I didn’t really enjoy it.”
“Now she’s the best of all of us,” Tessa says.
Members of the Marist club, they were heavily influenced by their rugby-mad dad. “Dad, [Murray Silcock] was a very good rugby player and played a lot for Nelson Bays. He’s got a lot of knowledge for the game,” Tamara says.
The sibling rivalry is strong amidst the trio.
“We are all horse riders as well, so we have always been very competitive with each other.”
Katie showed her potential at a young age, becoming the first ever female selected for the Golden Bay/Motueka U52 side, she was also the top try scorer one season, dotting down an astonishing 82 times including 10 in one game,
Having played a lot of rugby with boys, the sisters say they have been subject to targeted attacks.
“They used to pull my hair and clothesline me,” Katie says.
However, the bruising number 8 never took a backward step.
“One time I just went whack and punched one of them in the nuts.”
With their fearless attitudes, the girls aren’t strangers to injury either. Tamara says she once broke her ankle playing for her dad’s golden oldies team.
Katie, also an avid motocross rider, “wrecked” her back coming off her bike. Tessa is currently on the side-line recovering from concussion after a stray knee to the head in pre-season knocked her unconscious.
Tessa says they are constantly compared to another rugby mad family, the Barrett brothers.
“We get it all the time.”
Tamara says now that the pathways are there, they hope to one day follow the Barrett’s to national honours.
“Now that women’s rugby is getting more professional, if we work hard enough it could happen.”
The Mako opened their 2018 Farah Palmer Cup campaign with a 65-12 win over Taranaki.
However, the side were brought back to earth in round two, demolished by Auckland 86-0.
The Mako will meet North Harbour in Albany this weekend before making its first appearance at Trafalgar on September 23 when they host Wellington.