I’ve been lucky playing for Corrimal. The club has a wonderful culture and my halves partner there is the Dragons assistant coach, Alicia Hawke. She has taught me plenty. A lot of the girls have.
You meet a lot of generous people in rugby league, right up to the Jillaroos players.
At the Dragons, Sammy Bremner is brilliant. She has the best attitude, always happy and positive but super competitive, which makes her the perfect captain and teammate.
I love Kezie Apps. I don’t think anyone’s ever said a bad word about her. She is one of the nicest people you’d ever meet and, given her standing in the game, so humble.
When I got pulled into the Country team this year, I barely knew any of the girls and Kezie treated me as if she’d known me for years. She took me under her wing.
I feel bad. Yet at the same time, incredibly fortunate. So, to all the amazing women who have come before me, all I can say is this. Thank you.
With women’s rugby league becoming more visible, young girls now get to see people like Sammy and Kezie on TV. Great players, great people who can become their role models.
I never had that – I was a big Johnathan Thurston fan growing up and reckon Kalyn Ponga is bloody brilliant now. It’s always been only male players on TV. It wasn’t until I started playing that I saw first-hand all these awesome women’s players who I could look up to.
This year, one million people watched Women’s State of Origin on TV. It was a great game, showing the best of what we have to offer.
It was a game-changer, and a sign of things to come.
Playing in the NRL has been so much fun. Very tough and physical, which is exactly what I expected, and all played on TV.
I’m proud to be the youngest player in the competition. I’m just glad I turned 18 in time to get a contract! I was originally thinking NRL might be a longer-term ambition for me. My Tarsha Gale coach, Daniel Lacey, coaches the Dragons and I’m so grateful that he gave me an opportunity.
With just four teams in the inaugural NRL season, the standard has been high. So many girls are playing rugby league at a local level now that hopefully the talent depth keeps increasing and expansion is a clear possibility in the future.
By the time I retire, I hope to see our competition nearly as big and widespread as the men’s. Twelve teams definitely seems realistic. That would be awesome.
That part of it sucks, that the rewards go to the next generation. But what an incredible legacy. I am so grateful.
The one thing I truly hope is that we reach a point where female players can make a living from the game. A couple of girls in our Dragons NRL team still had to give up work to play. It is so hard for people when footy commitments clash with full-time work and personal relationships.
Even getting to the point where part-time work is an option would make things a hell of a lot easier. Down the track, you’d hope to see top women’s players getting paid a substantial amount, if not the same as men.
On a personal level, I really want to play for NSW and the Jillaroos by the time I’m 21. And I believe I’ll probably switch from the halves to hooker at a certain point, because running the ball is a much stronger part of my game than kicking.
Whatever I achieve in the game, it won’t only be my hard work that made it possible. It will also be the incredible efforts of the women who came before me.
Thank you all, so much.