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Tamika takes every opportunity in her stride

It’s going to be tough to top her 2019 season; but Tamika Upton is doing everything she can to try and make this year even better.

The Rockhampton speedster made a huge impression in last year’s NRLW grand final when she stepped into the fullback role for the Broncos in the decider in the place of the experienced Chelsea Baker.

It was a bold call by coach Kelvin Wright and it paid off. After the Broncos secured their second-straight premiership, Upton was full of praise for her fellow CQ-based team mate Baker who shared her knowledge of the game with her at training to help get her ready for the massive game.

“Probably my best moment in rugby league so far was the NRLW grand final – that was an unreal atmosphere,” Upton said.

Chelsea Baker supports her Broncos team mates

Both Upton and Baker are in the Queensland Female Performance Program squad which met on the Sunshine Coast this past weekend for their second camp which is helping players prepare for the upcoming QRL Women’s Premiership season and put themselves in the best position to earn selection in the Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons side that will play in June.

“So far, I have learnt heaps at camp, (not just about football, but) about nutrition and media, so I am hoping to learn whatever I can,” Upton said of her experiences in the camps so far.

Remarkably this is only her second year of senior football, having originally made a name for herself in touch football.

“In attack, my touch background has helped, a bit less in defence, but with touch, I was constantly running and with the Aussie touch team, we were in camps regularly, so this is just like that,” the Yeppoon Seagull said.

She did however play rugby league as a young child, and only stopped when the pathway for girls ended at the age of 12.

She came back to the game at the urging of a friend and quickly regained her memory of how to play.

“I actually played with the boys back when I was younger at Blackwater, but I stopped at the cut-off age and then last year a friend sort of said, ‘do you want to come down and play club’ and I was a bit scared because I had only played touch for a while, but I played a game and I loved it and that was my first season,” she said.

Upton’s game has been coming along in leaps and bounds – she also represented Queensland Country in the Harvey Norman Women’s National Championships last year – and she took care to thank those who have helped her on her journey so far and have inspired her to push herself further.

“Family have been a big support for me and my coach back home Paul Minto, he’s very knowledgeable about football, so I am pretty lucky there,” Upton said.

“The Broncos coach last year Kelvin Wright has been a big influence on my career so far, I was new to rugby league so I didn’t know too much (and) in that space of eight weeks, I learnt so much.

“My biggest inspiration on the field is Steph Hancock, you can’t go past Steph Hancock, she’s pretty amazing.

“Her talk off the field, she actually goes on and exceeds that and she definitely walks the walk.”

This year, Upton hopes to continue to work on her skills and build as a player and describes herself as someone who likes to learn.

“My goals this year – a personal goal is to keep improving and going into every session with a positive attitude and making sure I am getting something out of it.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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