Versatile Queensland Rubys second rower Sunny Gerrard is determined to secure a spot in the Harvey Norman Queensland Under 19 side to take on New South Wales in Sydney on June 23.
Gerrard, who plays for the Burleigh Bears in the BMD Premiership, scored a try in her side's opening game against South Australia at the Harvey Norman Women's National Championships on the Gold Coast on Thursday.
Queensland Rugby League female pathways and Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons coach Tahnee Norris is there watching closely.
"I just love footy," Gerrad, who grew up playing backyard footy with her two older brothers, said.
"Every jersey that I put on, I wear it with pride. But to represent my state would be a whole 'nother level of proud. Just amazing. It would mean everything to put on a Queensland jersey."
he 18-year-old took part in QRL's Harvey Norman Queensland Under 19 camp ahead of this week's national championships to get selected for the Queensland Rubys and said she was being a sponge to improve her game.
"I was lucky enough to be coached by Tahnee Norris in the Burleigh Harvey Norman Under 19 pathway last year. Also training with the BMDP team. She's got a wealth of knowledge so to be able to train under her has been amazing," Gerrard said.
"I've learnt a lot from her. She's had affiliations with the Gold Coast Titans and I was part of the development... her and Jamie Feeney - learnt a lot."
Gerrard, who was part of the Queensland Under 17 City team last year, said the camp last month was "honestly an amazing opportunity" and she was excited by the prospect of playing rugby league at higher levels.
"I mean, everyone coming and talking to us about how they didn't have what we have today is an eye-opener of how lucky we are and how big the game has grown over time," Gerrard said.
"I just feel really fortunate to be a part of it. Really thankful to the girls who didn't have this pathway before, who have paved it for us.
"I started when I was really little, I was like seven. I think it was mostly because my brothers played to be honest. My dad coached me at Nerang Roosters from under 7s and I've just loved it ever since.
"Got told Under 12s I wasn't allowed to play. Dealt with that. Under 14s, there was a girls program so I jumped in on the 14s and have been playing ever since."
Norris said the Keebra Park State High School graduate was "a really good kid".
"Sunny has come through the programs at Burleigh Bears. She's got a lot of potential. She actually captained the Harvey Norman Under 19 side for the Bears and has some really good leadership skills," Norris said.
"I think this has been a really good pathway for her. She has been exposed to some really good players in training sessions and now she's taken that step up to be picked in the Queensland Rubys team... I'm really looking forward to seeing how she goes.
"She's a strong ball runner who doesn't mind doing the hard work through the middle of the field. A really good push support runner as well, so I'm really looking forward to seeing her at nationals."
Gerrard's next game is against Northern Territory on June 10 at 2pm.
Livestream: Women's National Championships 2022 - Day 2