Jamie-Lee Lewis has never felt better on the field.
The Valleys Diehards lock has endured a number of highs and lows across her rugby league career, but as she approaches this Saturday’s Holcim Cup grand final, she knows how far she has come.
“This year has been the best year I've had so far in my football career,” Lewis said.
“I’m feeling the fittest and strongest I have ever been and I’m so happy with my on-field performance.
“I’m feeling really good both physically and mentally.”
Lewis, who also played in this season’s BMD Premiership with the Brisbane Tigers, is enjoying an injury-free run this year and has found herself thriving in the longer Holcim Cup season.
Over her career in rugby league, Lewis has been victim to a number of serious injuries, including a broken collarbone that pushed into her artery and two ACL ruptures in 2013 and 2017.
Just last year she broke her leg, but she said she knew this time to trust the rehab process to help her return as ready as ever to play.
And since that recovery, Lewis has been flying.
She will don the No.13 jersey against Goodna Eagles at Mustangs Brothers RLFC on Saturday, August 20, and she will do so with pride.
Because not only has she found herself feeling strong and fit, but she has found herself a second family within Valleys Diehards.
“Every club is different. What I love about Valleys is that the club has great support all around and has so much history,” Lewis said.
“The passion and how much all the staff, volunteers and sponsors have put into this club to give us the best support is amazing.
“Everything that we need to enjoy playing footy is right here in front of us.
“The loyalty… you always see the old Diehards come to games and support us. It is unreal.
“The Valleys Diehards have the best support for women's rugby league to ensure that we continue to play good footy and feel part of the club’s family.”
That strong bond at Valleys is something 32-year-old Lewis hopes will play a part in Saturday’s decider.
Valleys lost last year’s women’s Premiership grand final to Burleigh Bears and won’t want to see history repeat itself in the Holcim Cup competition.
Goodna also upset Valleys – who were the 2022 minor premiers – just two weeks ago to advance straight to the grand final.
Lewis and her team had to take a longer route, but they are now very aware of the Eagles’ strengths and what it is they need to do come Saturday.
“Goodna is a very strong team,” Lewis said.
“They have been in previous grand finals the last few years. They will give everything they have this Saturday.
“They have a very strong forward pack and they are such a close team so we've just got to make sure we stick to our game plan, keep our composure and not let anything rattle us.
“Our team has been through so much this season with lots of injuries. I am very proud of everyone.
“For what we have all achieved and to get to where we are today, it’s amazing, so a win would just be the icing on the cake of what’s been a massive season.
“Hopefully we can do it for the girls who can’t be on field with us.”
The Holcim Cup grand final will be played at 3.30pm at Mustangs Brothers RLFC at Chambers Flat, with three other SEQ women's grand finals to be played in the lead up to the main match.
You can watch all four games live and free on Qplus.tv.
Main image: Jamie-Lee Lewis in action for Valleys. Photo: Yvonne Veivers/QRL