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Retired rugby player, veteran and TV presenter embarks on creative future

Mollie Gray has achieved more than most in her 30 years. The former Fox Sports presenter was a member of the Australian Defence Force and represented Australia in the Women's Rugby World Cup on two occasions. Now, Mollie is about to embark on a new journey in pursuit of her creative passion; studying a Bachelor of Film at SAE Creative Media Institute in Sydney.

In conjunction with playing in the women’s Wallaroos rugby team for Australia, Mollie also served her country with 11 years in the Army, including a six-month tour of Afghanistan as an administration Corporal.

Joining the army at age 18 – straight after high school, Mollie found that was the best option for her after not feeling “particularly academic”.

With a big brother in the army and a suggestion from her mum, Mollie says she joined the Australian Defence Forces because uni wasn’t an option for her at that time.

“I thought I would just do it for 12 months, but I loved it and the first three years flew by. Now that I look back on my time there, I realise that I wasn’t suited to the military, but it taught me to focus on discipline and hard work.”

The Defence Force was supportive and accommodating of her rugby career and Mollie spent four years concurrently playing professional rugby for the Wallaroos while continuing to serve in the army.

Mollie has played sport her whole life but didn’t take to rugby straight away, after trying it again in 2009 she was addicted. The two world cups (2014, 2017) she participated in is testament to her talent for the sport.

Unfortunately, Mollie’s sports career was cut short after four knee surgeries, and an ankle reconstruction and a hernia surgery took a toll mentally and physically.

After calling time on her rugby career, Mollie was approached by Fox Sports to become the first female panellist on their Rugby Union program, Kick and Chase. Finding she was a natural in front of the camera, she spent two years working with Union greats George Gregan and Drew Mitchell discussing men’s and women’s rugby on live TV.

After spending so much time in front of the camera, Mollie is now eager to learn about what goes on behind it; something she is keen to discover in the Bachelor of Film program.

“I’ve always been creative but never pursued it, the obsession for success in sport always overshadowed my other aspirations.”

“Working in media has opened my eyes to that side of my interests but it has also been somewhat restrictive. I want to learn for myself and to have the freedom to make what I want.”

“I was in quite a bad space after retiring from rugby, I had to reevaluate what was important, and SAE has helped me move into a new phase of my life.”

During her studies, Mollie has found a surprising affinity for producing comedy work, taking inspiration from real-life situations. She also hopes to showcase the voices of strong women in her storytelling.

Mollie says that whilst her transition back to study has been a challenge at times, it has also been empowering to return to education.

“While I have been slightly intimidated and surprised by the technical skills of my younger classmates, I have been able to grasp that side of things quite easily. I’m also learning the value of my contribution, my life experience and leadership skills also bring a lot to the table.”

“I’m interested in creating projects focussed on people and sports, but really, I’m keeping an open mind as to where this can take me, if you fixate on one thing you can miss out on other opportunities.”

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