Ever felt like life wasn’t going the way you planned? At 16, Corban McGregor was focused on playing netball, her second loves were football and Oztag, and becoming a mum was the furthest thing from her mind.
“Obviously, it was a crazy time. I was 16 years old; Sport was my life, so [falling pregnant] was a really big shock to me,” Corban admits. “But I was super, super lucky enough to have the most amazing parents who made me realise that it was not the end of the world. It was actually a blessing to have a little one, and gave me more motivation to train and want to go as far as I could in whatever sport I wanted.”
“To be honest, when I first found out [I was pregnant], yeah, it did cross my mind – I’m not going to be able to play sport again, this is it – but I was lucky to have a really good boyfriend and parents who opened my eyes to the bigger picture and made me realise there’s so much more that I could give. I was young and there was so much to look forward to.”
After giving birth to her son Carter, with the support of her family, Corban played gridiron for a couple of years before discovering rugby league, thanks to a little nudge from her Jillaroos mate Maddie Studdon back in 2014.
The 23-year-old has now built a rep for being one of the toughest backline players in rugby league, and was part of the winning Harvey Norman Jillaroos team in last year’s World Cup (unfortunately, Corban had to sit out of last weekend’s Commonwealth Championship grand final due to injury). “Putting on the Aussie jersey is the best feeling ever,” she says.
Training commitments for these elite level games on top of being a young mum and working part-time as a personal trainer is a lot to handle. How does she do it all?
“I think that comes back to support. My partner, my parents, and Carter’s dad are a big part of that. They know I’ve only got a small part of my life to do something like this, so they’re always supporting me to get to training and camps – not miss anything,” she says.
With rugby league being such a big part of the family, it’s no surprise Carter, now seven, is playing too.
“I love going to watch him play footy as well! This will be his fourth year [playing], actually. Last year, he really discovered that he loves it too. The first two years, I guess, he was real young and finding his feet,” Corban says. “I can tell, it’s in his blood, he loves it.”
Corben was shot for the most recent #TeamHarveyJunior campaign with Women's Health.