When Meg Ward lined up her shot at goal in the NRLW grand final against the St George Illawarra Dragons, she went through her routine with meticulous precision – knowing that the little things make a difference.
Each time that she added the extras, it was another success for her team the Brisbane Broncos, who went on to claim another premiership win and another trophy for the cabinet at Red Hill.
Their emphatic 30-6 win over the Dragons was all about each person in the team knowing their role and staying focused on their tasks.
Watching the broadcast of the match from his home, Boondall teacher Michael Nunn thought about the message behind doing the little things right and how it could apply to school – and not just on the footy field.
“I tell my class constantly that the little things count, (and how) the small things (can) equal big things by the end of the term or semester or year,” Nunn said.
“When you forget your swimmers or leave your lunch somewhere and don’t have a pencil, that impacts on your learning and our day.
“My message is all about marginal gains. Improvement every day.”
Inspired by her performance, Nunn reached out to the Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons representative and asked her to come and talk to his students about those “little things” that can help turn someone a Jillaroo, a Queensland Origin player and guide them to two premiership wins.
“I try and use rugby league to help my students whenever I can, it’s just natural for me to use league, it’s what I love and know,” Nunn said.
“Ward fit the bill; she was so patient and careful in what she was doing kicking that ball.”
The Year 5 students at Boondall are preparing for Year 6 and for leadership positions in the school next year in 2020.
“Leaders can take on lots of forms and everyone can bring something to leadership,” Ward explained to the young students during her visit.
She also presented a Queensland jersey to one young student in the audience, Sky Hetaraka, who also plays rugby league; who beamed as she put her new jersey.
Ward spoke to the young fans about the way her whole week during the NRLW season was geared towards ensuring the best preparation for the weekend.
“If I don’t prepare well during the week with what I eat, rest and making sure I am training how I want to play; then I can’t expect the weekend game to just magically come together,” Ward said.
“School is the same for you; it’s not just magically going to happen Monday morning.”
Ward is also someone who can share their experience about perseverance.
In her playing career, Ward has come back from three major injuries, one to her neck when she slipped and ruptured a disc which required a replacement, while she also injured her knee in the 2019 Origin game against New South Wales. Last season, she played in the NRLW grand final with a fractured hand.
Ward raced the clock to be right of the 2019 NRLW season, but never rushed and made sure she was thorough in her rehabilitation of the knee.
Ward told the Boondall student that while injuries are part of the game, they do test your patience and she asked them if they would also be prepared to do the little things with their own rehab if ever the situation arose.
“No one will see, so it’s easy to say ‘I won’t do my neck exercises today’,” Ward said.
“(But) you (will) get found out when you go back to the surgeon and you haven’t improved or that you can’t play still, long after the date you were supposed to be back has lapsed.
“You’re only cheating yourself.”
Ward liken her football life to school to make a connection with the students.
“Your training is school, your boots are pencils and books, if you are not organised and ready, you’re not getting the most out of day here at school,” Ward said.
The little things matter at school and in the life of a premiership-winning winger and now, the students at Boondall have a clearer understanding of that thanks to Meg Ward and her two premiership rings.