With a 16-game winning streak at stake, the Queensland Women’s Rugby League team has gone into camp this week with a host of players making their debut.
This year’s debutants come from all across Queensland and bring with them diverse rugby league backgrounds. Two players running on for Queensland for the first time this year have achieved this representative career highlight from vastly different paths.
Courtney Lockwood from the Beerwah Bulldogs has been pulling on a pair of rugby league boots since she was 7. From running on for the Bribie Island Warrigals all those years ago, and now playing for the Beerwah Bulldogs, Courtney has reached her goal of playing for Queensland.
“I was told I was close to being picked last year, so I put my head down and worked on the things I needed to do to make the team; I trained hard, ate healthy and was doing PT 5 days a week,” Lockwood said.
But being selected for Queensland is only half the job done. As a debutant halfback, Lockwood has big shoes to fill, following in the footsteps of Queensland and Australian Jillaroos legend Karyn Murphy.
However, the coaches have all told her to play her own game, and the young halfback is looking forward to what is needed to beat NSW.
“I’m just focusing on the things I need to do: my kicking game which will be a big factor on how we go on the field, and controlling and organising our plays.”
While Lockwood comes from a rugby league background, centre Kody House is playing for Queensland in only her second year of playing league.
A natural athlete, House has played just about all the football codes before settling on rugby league.
Although having played Brisbane Premier League Soccer, captained the Queensland Brigade women’s gridiron team and been named in the Queensland Reds Sevens side, it is rugby league which she gets the most enjoyment out of.
“It’s the contact that I love, and the freedom on the field. Having come from gridiron which is tightly structured and all about the playbook, the ability in rugby league to read the defence and change the play at the last second is very liberating,” House said.
Playing for the Calliope Roosters, House usually slots in at centre or fullback and it’s no surprise that she likes to model her game on fellow Queensland back Greg Inglis.
“His size and the way he uses it, his unorthodox playing style and his skill level is something I’d like to be able to emulate,” she said.
While making the Queensland team in only her second year of playing is testimony of her natural skill and ability, House’s challenge for the game on Saturday night is a personal one.
“I need to focus on my mental state, to get into the right frame of mind. Having a limited league knowledge, I can often get frustrated with my on-field decisions. I need to keep calm to make the right decisions.”
While both players are excited to be in the Queensland team, they are aware how to handle the nervousness the creeps in leading up to kick off.
Both acknowledge that they will look to the experienced players like Steph Hancock and Renae Kunst over the coming days.
“Being part of this team and training alongside these girls will go a long way to getting my head in the right space for the match,” Lockwood admitted.
House is grateful for having been selected in the QWRL Development Squad earlier in the year which she credits as helping her prepare for selection.
“Getting to train alongside not only Steph but also players like Karyn Murphy was really helpful.”
The game kicks off at 2.45pm tomorrow (Saturday, June 27) ahead of the North QLD Cowboys V Cronulla Sharks NRL match.
You can watch the game LIVE via our stream on right here on QRL.com.au... just click here.