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Barchard eyes off bumper 2021 season

Since Deb Barchard first burst onto the scene three years ago, her goal has been to make it to the top.

Moving to the Central Highlands in 2018 to dip the toes into Queensland Rugby League's female pathway, the forward has recently relocated further north to Mackay to continue advancing her career after being involved in the North Queensland Gold Stars' debut season in the BHP Premiership.

"It was an awesome experience just to be around like-minded girls with the most common goal to go somewhere and not just playing backyard footy anymore," Barchard said.

"Having some awesome facilities [at BB Print Stadium] and having people who can take trainings and host gym sessions was a pretty good experience."

Met with the unique tyranny of distance as hundreds of kilometres separate the three major training hubs, Barchard said the team was able to work through the challenges to get the win in the first and only completed round of the competition.

"One of the cons was that we were all from different areas of North Queensland... some were from Cairns, Townsville and Mackay," the 2019 Women's Development squad member said.

"We knew it was going to be a tough gig trying to gel together in a game scenario but I think we did awesome for our first go.

"We came into Round 1 firing and got the win [against Ipswich] before sadly COVID cancelled everything."

All smiles for the North Queensland Gold Stars in Round 1.
All smiles for the North Queensland Gold Stars in Round 1.

The abrupt end of the competition and cancellation of other representative opportunities this season has lit the fire in the belly for the 26-year-old, who is aiming big in 2021.

"To be honest, I want to go further... it doesn't just stop at Gold Stars," Barchard said.

"Next year is a World Cup year... I'm aiming for things like that.

"It's a far goal to aim for but it's something that I really want to do, so I'll make the sacrifices and see what happens.

"I think the main thing is to push myself and better myself.

"Even if I don't make it and I fall short, I'll feel better to be able to go further with myself as an individual and the rest will just fall into place."

To begin her pursuit for a green and gold jersey, Barchard made the 200-kilometre one-way journey for last Friday's BHP Talent ID clinic in Moranbah.

Barchard in action at the BHP Talent ID clinic in Moranbah. Photo: Cameron Stallard/QRL
Barchard in action at the BHP Talent ID clinic in Moranbah. Photo: Cameron Stallard/QRL

"I took half a day off work and decided... there's going to be someone there that is looking for people who are keen and wanting to go further [with their career] and I was just like... I'll drive down and make the effort and definitely take something out of today," Barchard said.

"I also just wanted to show that I want it."

The clinic also allowed the Queensland Country representative to be one of the leaders for the young and upcoming players who also attended, putting her in good stead for her first role as a coach next year.

"Just being around younger girls helping them is such an awesome feeling... it's so rewarding and next year, I'll be fortunate enough to coach the Year 11 and 12 Mackay State High School team," Barchard said.

"Being able to be some sort of coach and mentor for young girls and be someone to look up to is just so rewarding.

"And being able to help others pushes myself too because I'm able to see girls want something as bad as I do.

"It really pushes me to show them the way."

The 2021 BHP Premiership draw will be released Tuesday, December 14 on

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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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