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Voll has 'fire in the belly' to excel in two sports

Toowoomba product Georgia Voll loves rugby league, loves cricket and is killing it in both arenas.  

"I tried netball but got told I used a bit too much contact," Georgia laughed. 

The talented lock is now part of the Queensland Rugby League Under 18 Girls Performance Program, and last week made her debut for the Queensland Fire cricket team.  

"My footy journey started when I was just seven, playing with my dad, brother Tristan and sister Alana in the backyard," Georgia said. 

Georgia as a junior.
Georgia as a junior.

"I knew that rugby league was the sport for me. The next season came quickly, heading into an all-boys team playing for Highfields Eagles.

"The mates I made will last a lifetime; I was accepted as 'one of the boys' from the get-go.

"Knowing that I was one of the first girls to play at the club makes me proud to lead the way for girls playing rugby league within our area.

"At the age of 12, I had to give up the sport I loved. I wasn’t able to play with the boys anymore and there was no more representative rugby league for the girls over the age of 12. I knew this day would come and I had no idea what sport I could find that I would love as much as rugby league."

Georgia said she really liked team sports, so wanted to find another team sport. 

"I'm am a team-oriented person, it’s an amazing feeling when you're all working together and getting the best out of each other," Georgia, whose dad Russell Voll played for the Toowoomba Clydesdales in the 1996 Cup grand final, said. 

"I tried about seven or eight different sports, to try and find something that could take over from my footy, I was lucky enough to be selected in a number of rep teams but found my passion for cricket.

"One of my mates took me down to the nets one day and I enjoyed it, so I went to Darling Downs trials and it's kind of gone from there really."

Georgia said up until now, juggling rugby league and cricket had not been a problem. 

"When I first started playing cricket, it was in the summer and footy was in the winter... once cricket season is on the way out, I start training for footy and when footy is on the way out I start training for cricket," Georgia, whose family has now moved to Brisbane, said. 

She said the support of her family had been massive - “driving me from Toowoomba to Brisbane four times a week for the past three years" - meant she was able to compete at the highest level available.

"I have always been training all year round, it just depends on what season it is," Georgia said.  

The 16-year-old said she was inspired by many rugby league players - primarily Steph Hancock.

"She's obviously a freak and has been for a very long time," Georgia said, adding she was stoked to be part of the Queensland Rugby League Under 18 Girls Performance Program and hoped to play for the Queensland Under 18 team this year. 

I think it's amazing for girls, to have the opportunity to train in an elite program with girls that have the same passion for the sport that I do.

"The pathways that have been put into place for females, make it an exciting time if you want to make teams like the Broncos, the Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons and Jillaroos.

"I am a Queenslander and I've always gone for the Maroons. Just imagine if I actually got to play and it turned from a dream, to a reality... how good that would be?

"I've always gone for the Maroons being a Queensland girl. Growing up watching State of Origin, even watching last year's girls State of Origin and the under 18 team last year, that was quite exciting... seeing how far the game has evolved. 

"It's an exciting time for girls rugby league. I was too young last year and being eligible this year, has got a bit of fire in the belly to work hard to try and be part of the Maroons team, it would be a huge honour to play for my state.

“Both rugby league and cricket have always been predominately male dominated, so these are exciting times... the opportunities are exciting.

"I was one of the first females to be part of my local footy club at the Highfields Eagles, it is nice to know that the foundation is being laid, for the younger girls coming through, if they are willing to put in the hard work anything is possible."

Georgia ultimately dreams of playing in the green and gold. 

“Everyone's dream is to obviously play for their country, so it's no different for me," Georgia said.

"I would love to do that. Being able to keep performing and earning a spot in the Queensland teams in both codes is what my goal is, then hopefully the Australian teams if I am fortunate enough to be selected.”

Georgia, reflecting on what the highlights for her so far had been, said she was not looking forward to the day that she had to pick cricket or rugby league. 

“With rugby league I was fortunate enough to be elected as captain of all three representative teams for 2019 - Darling Downs, Western Mustangs and Central Crows," Georgia said.

"A major highlight was leading the Crows to victory at the state titles and being awarded player of championships.

"Making the Cricket Australia XI last year was a big highlight for me too.

"That team was picked from an under 15s national championship. We then played at the under 18s national championship at the beginning of 2019. Knowing they had faith in me to be able to represent Australia for the under 16s CAXI was exciting and I was grateful for the opportunity."

Georgia has just returned from two weeks in Tasmania where she played at the under 18 national cricket championships, where she had a very successful campaign receiving the prestigious Betty Wilson Medal for player of the championship. She then got a phone call that all players dream of, from the Queensland Fire coach. 

"Making my debut for the Queensland Fire team was really exciting for me," Georgia said.

"I've trained very hard this season, like I have always have. But this year everything is falling into place and I can see a clear path of where I want to be and what I need to do to get there."

Georgia, often a top order batter and off spin bowler, picked up 2-11 from her three overs during Fire's win over Victoria in a bid for a spot in the Women's National Cricket League final.

Queensland leap-frogged Victoria into third spot with the six-wicket win under gloomy skies at Allan Border Field.

“With cricket I would love to get the opportunity to play with the Fire and Heat girls again, if I keep working hard hopefully I will be lucky enough to get the opportunity," Georgia said. 

Georgia's future is obviously bright, in whichever sport she chooses.

Georgia said for her, it would come down to whichever huge opportunity came up first, but she was not looking forward to the day she had to pick. 

"If one happens before the other then I guess I'll take that opportunity," Georgia, now in Year 11 at Brisbane State High, said. 

Mum Samantha Voll said "footy has always been part of our lives" but cricket had also become a big love in the Voll household and Georgia was determined to make her mark in both sports. 

The Voll family.
The Voll family.

"Basically she has gone from strength to strength in both," Voll said. 

"It's funny. I've have people say 'you drive her so hard'. Yes, I drive her everywhere, but that's all I do. She is her own driving force. 

"If she says 'Tristan, I need to work on my in-field kicking, they'll go up to the paddock and work on that. Or 'I need a net session, Tristan come with me'. He has been her trainer, her mate, her supporter. Very few people would understand their mateship or how much Tristan has done for her."

Voll said her daughter, "one of the organisers on the paddock", trained six days every week, sometimes twice on one day.  

"Whether going for a run in the morning and then doing a net or tackling session in the afternoon with dad, or doing sprint training in the afternoon and maybe gym in the morning - it depends what day it is."

Voll said she thoroughly enjoyed watching Georgia's journey - with rugby league and cricket. 

"From a very early age, Georgia has been able to see three plays ahead, she has a maturity beyond her age on the field, she is a strategic player and has the ability to get the best out of her teammates," Voll said.

"As a player and a young woman we are proud of Georgia... her sportsmanship, dedication, drive and passion is what makes her a force on the field."

Voll said it was all happening for Georgia and she could not wait to see where she ended up.