Kianna 'tagged' to take on world

Published 6:00am 20 April 2023

Kianna 'tagged' to take on world
Words by Nick Crockford

Kianna Maclean says Oztag is her “fun sport” - but it is starting to get serious.

The 17-year-old from Scarborough has been named in Australia’s Mixed Under 21 squad for the International Tag Federation’s World Cup.

Maclean and the Tagaroos will fly to Limerick – the first northern hemisphere host of the world cup – in late July for the finals on August 2-5.

Twenty nations are expected to send teams with Ireland and Australia likely to enter sides in all 13 age groups from 21 and under to 60 and Opens.

“I’ve not heard much about the competition,” Maclean said, “but Australian Mixed 20s are usually among the favourites at tournaments.

Kianna 'tagged' to take on world
Kianna Maclean stretches to score in a Queensland tournament.

“I’d be very happy if we win – if not, the experience itself will be good.”

Maclean played three years above her age at the nationals and admitted it was “scary but I feel I’ve warmed up to that (level) now. And they were all nice”.

The teenager has a training camp in Sydney later this month and another in Queensland in June before travelling to the world cup at the University of Limerick.

After a formal opening ceremony on August 2, around 2000 players will take part in more than 360 matches over four days.

It will be a far cry from the time five years ago when the Redcliffe State High School student, started playing oztag “socially” in her brother’s team at North Lakes.

Kianna 'tagged' to take on world
Kianna will swap Scarborough for Limerick in August.

“I was doing a bit of touch at school and running and soccer, but had a fun time (in oztag) and started playing,” said Maclean, who plays in the middle or just outside middle.

“It’s just been my fun sport … everything else I took competitively. That’s why I love oztag so much. There’s no pressure. I just go out and play.”

Maclean is no stranger to sporting success. At 13 she was state 800m champion and finished fifth in the national titles.

The same year she also won the Golden Boot for most goals scored in a season with Albany Creek Excelsior Under 16s.

Multiple other state-level athletics and cross-country honours are also among her growing collection of oztag medals.

Kianna 'tagged' to take on world
Kianna, front row third from left, with her Queensland MVP award.

These include winning the Under 21 Australian Mixed Championship, 2021 MVP Queensland Oztag, being runner-up in the Queensland Cup and making a Rest of the World side.

Maclean has also represented the Sunshine Coast District in Rugby 7s – which may be her next destination.

After her first game a scout from Queensland Reds approached Maclean – and one other player – asking how long she had been playing.

Maclean said it was her first game! The scout invited her to train with the Reds, but Maclean said she’d get the World Cup out the way first!

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