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Queensland Under 18 girls: where are they now?

The game made history when the Queensland Under 18 girls team ran out to face New South Wales last year in the first representative game of its kind for young female players.

While circumstances surrounding COVID-19 have denied the next crop of talented athletes the chance to represent their state this year, it is hoped the opportunity will be provided again in the future.

We look back on the players from the inaugural 2019 team and check in with have been up to in 2020.

Queensland Under 18 Girls 

1. China Polata

A player with a huge future in the game, Polata played for Easts Tigers this year in the Holcim Cup and was named in the Round 1 team of the week. Unfortunately, she suffered a leg injury late in the opening round and is now recovering with the goal of getting back to playing next season.  

2. Jasmine Peters

The up-and-coming back played in the opening round win for the North Queensland Gold Stars back in March this year. Since the BHP Premiership competition was called off, Peters has been featuring for Mackay Brothers in the Mackay women's competition with the team taking part in the grand final this weekend.

3. Tyesha Mikaio

The centre has had a big 2020, with plenty of changes to her life after she recently welcomed a baby into her family. She also took part in a construction traineeship with Souths Logan Magpies

4. Chante Temara

The pint-sized Temara starred for Burleigh Bears in in the Holcim Cup, earning regular team of the week inclusions for her play. The versatile star on the rise has recently signed with Brisbane Broncos and is set to feature in her first NRLW campaign. All eyes will be on the team line-ups when the Broncos play Sydney Roosters to see if Temara will face off against her older sister Zahara.

5. Rosemary Vaimili-Toalepai

The fierce winger, who was in the Brisbane Broncos NRLW system last year,  played well for Easts Tigers in the Holcim Cup this season, proving one of the strongest performers for her side.

6. Rhiannon Revell-Blair

Part of the leadership group alongside Emma Manzelmann and Lyllian Mikaio in last year's camp, Revell-Blair this year played for the Indigenous All Stars women’s side against the New Zealand Maori. Since the COVID-19 shutdown, the skilful and powerful runner hasn’t returned to rugby league this season. 

7. Courtney Tamati

The talented halfback started the season with the Sydney Roosters in New South Wales Rugby League’s under 18 Tarsha Gale competition. She returned to Queensland post COVID-19 and featured for the under 18 Parkwood Sharks side.

8. Jessikah Reeves

A hard-running and hard-hitting forward, the young gun played for Easts Tigers in the Holcim Cup and was named as the club’s best forward in their end-of-season awards. Unfortunately injured in the last regular round of the competition, Reeves has had to sit out for six weeks, but will be working to get herself ready to go in season 2021.

9. Emma Manzelmann

An outstanding performance in the opening round of the BHP Premiership with North Queensland Gold Stars saw Manzelmann earn weapon of the week status. This season, Manzelman played in the Mackay women's competition with the Magpies A Grade team.

'What a weapon!' - Emma Manzelmann

10. Lyllian Mikaio

Mikaio advanced her game in season 2020, playing for Souths Logan Magpies in the Holcim Cup. Always willing to make the tough carries on the field, off the field, Mikaio also joined her sister Tyesha as a Magpies construction trainee.

11. Keilee Joseph

Joseph played with Central Coast Roosters in their Harvey Norman women’s club premiership win. Part of the extended Sydney Roosters NRLW squad, the Logan teen has impressed club staff with her attitude.

12. Jasmon Tupou

Tupou started the season with the Roosters within the Tarsha Gale competition and unfortunately got injured. She returned to Queensland post COVID-19 and completed a rehabilitation program in preparation for season 2021.

13. Nakita Sao

Sao played with skill and maturity for Souths Logan Magpies as their halfback in the Holcim Cup competition. Her talents did not go unnoticed, with the youngster signing up with the Brisbane Broncos in the NRLW squad. 

15. Acacia Wulf

Wulf was due to play in the New South Wales Rugby League Harvey Norman competition with Canterbury Bulldogs, but sustained an injury and had knee surgery. Wulf has returned to Queensland and is currently rehabbing her way back for the 2021 preseason and has re-signed with the Canterbury Bulldogs.

16. River Smalley

Smalley was a member of the Souths Logan Magpies Holcim Cup squad, playing in four games and scoring one try. Once the competition concluded, Smalley featured for the Parkwood Sharks under 18 team in the SEQ girls competition. 

17. Tiamo Williams

Williams started the season with the Wests Tigers in the NSWRL Tarsha Gale competition, however has not returned to rugby league post COVID-19 shutdown.  

Fast five with Keisharn Hala

18. Keisharn Hala

Hala came off the bench for the under 18 side last year and this year played the season with under 18 Parkwood Sharks team which featured in the SEQ girls grand final.

19. Abelee Stanley

Picked in the initial squad last year, Stanley was unable to play due to injury. This season, the youngster played for Tweed Seagulls in Holcim Cup and was selected a number of times in the team of the week. Stanley started the year with Brothers Ipswich in the BHP Premiership.

20. Mackenzie Reid

Reid was called into the squad last year as an 18th player. This season, Reid played with Central Queensland Capras in BHP Premiership and has since moved to Mackay where she has impressed in the Mackay women’s competition. With plenty of eye-catching players throughout 2020 season, Reid is due to play along side Jasmine Peters this weekend in the competition's grand final.

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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