Women’s National Championship
By Matt Hughes (NRL Vic Media)
Six Victorian women will travel to Burleigh for the Harvey Norman Women’s National Championship beginning May 30.
Ngahuia Blair, Tulia Pula, Te Aroha Hapuka, Jayne Kareroa, Jean Shannel Robati and Tasia Seumanufagai will represent the Combined Affiliated States (CAS) in the four-day carnival beginning May 30. The girls were all selected following impressive performances for Victoria in the recent CAS carnival, which Victoria won for the third consecutive year.
Six teams will compete in the 2019 tournament – Queensland City, Queensland Country, NSW City, NSW Country, CAS and the Australian Defence Force. NSW country beat NSW City in last year’s decider.
Naghuia Blair is both “nervous and excited” ahead of the championship.
“Nervous being my first campaign and not too sure what to expect yet, but excited to get into camp meet the other ladies and enjoy the experience,” she said.
Blair sees it as a “privilege to be able to represent NRL Victoria”.
“This wasn't something I expected at all especially after missing a year of league due to being pregnant and coming back making state and then being selected for the CAS team,” she said.
“It just shows that if you do your job on and off the field you never know what can happen.”
Jean Shannel Robati is feeling similarly ahead of the championship.
“I’m excited, nervous and ready to get to work,” she said
“Im looking forward to playing some good footy.”
The two players both see playing for Victoria as a way to not only make their state proud, but also their family.
The National Championship acts as a stepping-stone for higher honours, with NRL.com reporting this week that there will likely be talent scouts from NRL Women’s (NRLW) clubs. Last year Victoria’s Oneata Schwalger was lucky enough to be signed by the St George Illawarra Dragons after a dominant display at the championships. Other big names that featured in 2018 include NRLW stars Ruan Sims and Kezie Apps.
The CAS side will play NSW City in their first game.