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City flyer Ella-Jaye Harrison-Leaunoa: 'Love working for each other'

Queensland Under 17 City five-eighth Ella-Jaye Harrison-Leaunoa has had a huge year, including playing for Goodna Eagles in the Holcim Cup grand final and taking out the competition.

The 17-year-old, who also played Harvey Norman Under 19s for Ipswich Jets, is fairly new to the game, but with a brother either side of her, it is a game that suits her.

The Ipswich State High School Year 11 student said she was thrilled to make the City side and could not wait to test herself against Country on Saturday.

“I was really happy when I made it,” Ella-Jaye said.

“I didn't expect to make it and then when I saw the team I was really stoked. I know I will learn a lot coming into this.”

Ella-Jaye, who first picked up a rugby league ball aged 16, said she loved the team environment.

“I was late to playing but I was playing other sports like touch and athletics,” she said.

“All the girls that I play with now, they’re so nice and they’re always helping me on the field and I like to help them on the field too. Love working for each other.”

Ella-Jaye said she was so scared when she first played at Goodna Eagles but had found her groove.

“I was so, so scared,” she said.

“Once I played I really enjoyed it and knew that it’s what I wanted to do.”

Since then, she has excelled; this year playing in the Holcim Cup women’s side that took out the competition.

“Playing in the open comp was really scary for the first few games but once I played a few with the older girls, they really helped me out and then I got comfortable,” Ella-Jaye said.

“I’d love to try and play professionally… the pathway for girls now, I feel like it’s something I could do if I keep my head down.”

Ella-Jaye, inspired by all of the NRLW players, said her parents were her biggest supporters.

“Especially my dad… he helps train me, everything behind the scenes, and then my mum's always there just supporting me,” Ella-Jaye said.

“All of my family as well… I’ve got an older brother and a younger brother, both annoying… I’m the only girl, in the middle.”

City coach Ana Fotu said she saw a lot of potential in Ella-Jaye.

“To play as starting fullback for Goodna Eagles in the Holcim Cup is huge as a 17-year-old,” Fotu said.

Ella-Jaye said she was confident City would get the job done on Saturday at Logan Metro Sports Complex.

“I’ll just do my role and do it properly,” she said.

“Make sure that I'm not letting the girls down… we just need to pick each other up and just be there for each other.

“In the future, to represent Queensland and my family would be so cool.”

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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