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5am workouts and school drop-offs: 24 hours in the life of footy star Corban McGregor.

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Corban McGregor wasn’t sure how life would turn out when she fell pregnant in high school, at the age of 16.

But when the Jillaroos star gave birth to her son, Carter, she knew whatever the future held, it would be good.

“Carter is eight, now, and I can truly say he’s the reason I do everything. He gives me purpose,” the 25-year-old tells Mamamia.

“Becoming a young mum could have deterred me from playing sport. But instead, it made me more determined to define my path at a younger age.

“It definitely made me grow up faster, but also, I feel like I’ve also had the support of my number one fan for eight years, and that means everything.”

corban mcgregor
Corban McGregor in round 2 of the Rugby League World Cups 9s match at Bankwest Stadium, Sydney, on October 19. Image: Getty.

Corban admits that the pressures of balancing work, footy and family have been overwhelming at times; which is why, just a few weeks ago, she made the decision to quit her full-time job in sales.

It's a sign of just how popular the women's Rugby League is becoming. Back in June, more than 10,000 people packed out North Sydney Oval to see the second-ever NRL Women's Origin.

We've just seen the epic standalone matches in the NRL Holden Women's Premiership in Sydney and Auckland, as well as the Australian Women's 9s team playing last week in the Rugby League World Cup 9s tournament alongside the Australian men’s 9s team.

For Corban, this means more time for the game she loves - but also more time with her boy.

“Being away from Carter, getting home after six o’clock each night, actually made me feel down, sometimes,” she reveals.

Luckily, she's had the support of her Jillaroos teammates as she balances a life that's full to the brim.

So, what does a typical day look like for Corban, now? She runs us through it:

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5am: I wake up really early to do speed and agility training. I coach athletes. It’s definitely harder when it's colder!

7am: I get home to get Carter ready for school, do drop off, that kind of thing. My fiancée, Matt, is a high school teacher, so he’s also great with Carter.

Matt and I have been together for three years, and we got engaged in January. The wedding is planned for November 2020.

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9am: After drop-off, I do my own training for one to two hours, usually at the gym. Then I’ll spend time planning coaching sessions for the next week.

It’s great to have that time because previously, I was sales representative full time. The company was flexible, but I was struggling to balance everything.

I realised this year, I’ve only got a gap to concentrate on footy – so I knew I needed to try to do that as much as possible.

Luckily, my supportive family lets me do that.

1pm: I try to see my parents, who I’m really close to. Mum’s like my best friend. Since moving out with my partner, I haven’t spent as much time with her – so I try to do that now.

3pm: School pick-up. Sometimes, after that, I’ll try to fit in more coaching, or I’ll have team training. Carter usually stays with Mum at those times, although sometimes he comes with me. He loves going to my games, and even comes to watch me interstate.

Matt is so great with Carter’s homework – and I try to be!

And now that I’m not getting home so late, Carter and I can shoot some hoops, too – he loves doing that.

7pm: I’m a shocking cook! Matt cooks more complicated dishes, like pastas and stir-fries, but I’m simple. Just meat and veg or salad. The fanciest I get is fish tacos!

I am always tired by the end of the day. I love reality TV. I love The Bachelor, and I love Survivor.

Corban is certainly fit enough to compete on Survivor, and it is something she has considered.

“I reckon I could go on Survivor – but the not eating would kill me!” she says.

And the last thing on Corban’s to-do list every night? "Crash into bed!"

It’s still a busy life, but one which Corban feels is now more manageable; and also, something most of us can achieve, if we can do this one thing.

“The key is to have great people around you. Then you can work everything else out.”

The Harvey Norman Australian Jillaroos will take on the New Zealand Ferns at WIN Stadium on Friday, October 25, alongside the men's Australian Kangaroos playing the New Zealand Kiwis. Book tickets now.

NRL

Elite Athletes following in the footsteps of their heroes is amazing. But elite athletes paving their way through uncharted territory for others to follow is extraordinary. To find out more about The Incomparables and Women’s Rugby League go to nrl.com/womens.

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