Princess by name, princess by ability

By James Perry

Princess Elliott is one of the young guns in the Open Women's Touch Blacks team heading off to the Touch World Cup next week in Malaysia.

"I'm excited as!" the Mt Albert Grammar School Student says.

The 17-year-old has been playing Open Women's touch for two years now with Counties-Manukau so playing for the Touch Blacks isn't a daunting prospect. 

"I have heaps of people I look up to, like Jean Marsh and Char [Charlotte Davis], they just guide you and they just make you feel confident as and comfortable in that environment so I'm kind of used to it now," she says.

It won't be her first time to the Southeast Asian country, she was a member of the U18 youth women's team who participated in last years Youth World Cup in Kuala Lumpur.

Elliott has been passing on her experience to her senior teammates, "One is definitely the heat, so hot! 40 degrees, [you could] definitely die over there I reckon."

She also says the team will be hungry to make up for the poor results of the NZ teams last year.

"We didn't get the result we wanted to last year but that's what makes us more hungry this year."

Touch isn't the only sport Elliott is excels in. She plays for the MAGS premier netball side and is also a handy rugby sevens player.  Last year she topped the try scorers list at the Ignite 7s tournament in Auckland.  She also plays for the Ponsonby women's 15s team, and has been training with the Auckland women's NPC team this season. 

Although Elliott says her touch commitments have been slowing her rugby down. 

"I think my rugby coaches can't wait until touch is over because I've just been playing touch, and I've missed a few games, but that's alright."

Her coaches will have to wait a bit longer, however. 

When she gets back from Malaysia Elliott will join up with the inaugural Warriors NRL Touch team, although she wasn't sure what she was getting herself into at first. 

"I didn't even know what it was and then my mum started explaining it to me, I was like 'oh my gosh!'  I was happy as, and I get to play with my friends, like Jaymie [Kolose] and Isla [Norman-Bell]."

Elliott grew up in Kawerau before accepting a place in MAGS Netball program.  She also grew up doing athletics, attending Colgate Games and ribbon days.

While she doesn't do as much as she used to, she still competes at school level.

 "Now and then I'll come back to the track and do a little of running.  I also have a coach too, his name's Peauope [Suli] he kills me on the track and makes sure I get there on time!" 

Earlier this year, Elliott was a recipient of a Tania Dalton Foundation scholarship. 

Dalton was a former Silver Fern who passed away from an aneurysm in 2017.  Elliott is grateful for receiving the scholarship, she says, not only does it offer financial assistance, but the foundation provides a mentor.

"But you also have to give back at the end of everything. So yeah, that was so much help," - the princess of Touch.

The New Zealand touch squads leave for Malaysia over the weekend, with the Touch World Cup set to begin on the 29th of April.