An MVP performance at the recent NRL Auckland Nines tournament has Queensland Women’s representative player Chelsea Baker excited for the year ahead.
Baker, who captained the Gladstone Wallabys to a premiership last year, has another busy year to look forward to, with the Australian Jillaroos to play a Test match against their great rivals the Kiwi Ferns in May and the Rugby League World Cup being staged at the end of the season.
The speedy winger has also been a key member of the Queensland team for the past two seasons, scoring a try on her representative debut in Townsville.
“My biggest goal for this year is to play in the World Cup team and retain the trophy,” Baker told QRL Media upon her return from New Zealand.
“My other just as important goals are to play in the Test match in Canberra and also play once again for my state as I am a very proud and passionate Queenslander and I want that trophy back.”
While she is currently revelling in celebrations of a 3-0 clean sweep over the Ferns, her rise to the top has involved a lot of hard work and sacrifice – something she shared on her Instagram account.
“Worth every drop of blood, sweat and tear. Every broken bone, every second away from my family and friends. Every early morning and late night training session.”
A talented all-round athlete, Baker also represented Queensland in touch football last season, but has put that aside for the time being to focus on her rugby league goals – which also includes claiming back-to-back premierships.
“I'm concentrating on my rugby league this year so I have put my touch football career on the back burner for now,” Baker said.
“My local club team, the Wallabys, are the reigning champions so I have and will be working hard with them this season, passing on everything I learn in my Jillaroos camps.
“Defending our title is going to be rough, there is such much great up and coming talent in our region.”
Chelsea Baker with her medallion.
Having scored four tries during the NRL9s tournament – QRL Media asked Baker to run through each of her four-pointers.
Game 1: Try 1
I was up ready to make a tackle on the Kiwi centre when the ball was pretty much passed to me (intercept try). Of course, my first instinct was to sprint straight under the posts, but I was worried that they were going to catch me as I felt like I was running in quick sand.
Game 1: Try 2
A great long ball from Maddi (Studdon) and the sweeping outside support from Sammy (Bremner) was the reason I was able to score this try. The Ferns only had eyes for Sammy which allowed me to race through for the double.
Game 2: Try 3
We'd been practicing our hooker play during camp, so when we got the Kiwis on the back foot, Britto (Breayley) took great advantage of it. I just happened to be lucky enough to be the one outside her.
Game 3: Try 4
This one was a team effort. It was a good lead-up set and the try came from great vision by Fergo (Allana Ferguson) to spread the ball.
Watch the highlights of all the Australian Jillaroos v Kiwi Ferns games on NRL.com: