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Fast five with Laken Paitai

Burleigh Bears second rower Laken Paitai has had a meteoric rise in the game since her rookie season in 2018, with selection in various representative teams and grand final appearances to her name.

Paitai played for the Prime Minister's XIII team last year in Fiji and has also represented he Queensland City side in the Harvey Norman Women's National Championships. 

With the BHP Premiership put on hold until 2021, Paitai took some time out to take the 'fast five' questions challenge. 

Fast five with Laken Paitai

Football family - does anyone in your family play? Who and for which team? If not, did a friend sign you up? 

Growing up, my dad (Anthony Patali) and my brothers (Justus Paitai and Cassius Paitai) used to play rugby league and rugby union; and at the time, I was playing other sports such as netball and basketball. But as I started to watch them a bit more, I realised that I wanted to play too, because even playing netball and basketball, I was always a very physical player. It shocked me that you could get physical in sport and not be in trouble for it. But now, my brothers only play union and I play league.

Favourite footy memory? 

Definitely going away for the Prime Minister's XIII side last year and getting to represent Australia. It was such and honour to pull on that jersey knowing that other great legends before me had done the same. It was just unreal and such an honour to be able to represent a country that I can proudly say as my country too.

Fashion - what’s the most worn item in your wardrobe? 

My undies. Haha, nah I'd have to say jumpers, because any chance I get, I always want to wear a hoodie.

Fitness tips? Any favourite exercises / tips for staying motivated? 

Coming from a big family, I’ve always had other people to train with and push me to go harder and give me that little bit more competitiveness when it comes to being better. But my favourite exercise, even though no one else likes them, are burpees. I like cross training and functional training as they work other muscles that you sometime wouldn’t usually work on.

In terms of staying motivated, a massive motivation for me is my parents, because they know all my goals I want to achieve and they always want me to keep pushing. Especially on really bad days, they’re always there to pick me up and push.

But also my older brothers, because seeing how much they pushed to get things they wanted and how hard they trained to stay in their local or representative sides really rub off on me and it makes me, even to this day, to want to achieve more than I did the week before.

Find out more - is there anything you are studying, reading, watching now that you are spending more time at home? 

Currently, I am finishing off the last little bit of my Certificate IV in fitness.

Also, when I’m not training, I am just working or even making TikToks, which are pretty fun to do. So yeah - you can follow me on there if you want I guess @laken.paitai. Hahaha. 

Favourite footy photo

At a training run last year in Fiji before the Prime Minister's XIII game. Photo: NRL Images
At a training run last year in Fiji before the Prime Minister's XIII game. Photo: NRL Images