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Norths Devils: BMD Premiership gains and losses for 2024

Amelia Kuk has played at the highest levels of rugby league.

She has won an NRLW grand final, represented her state of Queensland, and donned international jerseys for both her adopted home of Australia and her birth country of Papua New Guinea.

But when she runs out in the BMD Premiership for the Norths Devils for the first time this year, it will be one of her proudest moments because of two little faces in the crowd.

The 28-year-old stepped away from the game four years ago following the birth of her son. She knew she wanted to grow her family and ease into her new role as a mother.

But last year, when she held her newborn daughter in her arms, she knew it was time to lace up the boots once again.

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“The thought of a return came to my head when I had my daughter,” Kuk said of her second born, seven-month-old Agnesmoni.

“We didn’t know what we were having until she arrived. When I saw it was a girl, it took me back a bit.

“I knew I needed to change a few things about my life because she’s going to see everything I’m doing.

“It sparked the interest to go back – have one last shot and see if I can crack the system again and to me, that would be a cool legacy for her to see. She was a big reason why I decided to go back.

“I’ve always run out with my partner (Ethan) or mum and dad in the crowd, but this will mean a lot more. My son (Aizaiah) is three soon and already wants to play footy.

“He’s so aware and I love that he’ll be there for my first game. The game itself will be a big moment for me, coming back after being away for so long, but also after having two kids.”

Born in Mount Hagen in Papua New Guinea, Kuk said she was more exposed to male role models growing up and when she took up the game of rugby league – making her Queensland debut in 2016 – she strived to show the young girls of PNG who they could be and what they could do.

“When I achieved all the things I did before I had kids, I was doing it for the little girls back in Papua New Guinea,” Kuk said.

“Having my daughter, I now want to do it for this girl. I don’t want her to look far for a role model. If I can do all these things, that would be an awesome thing for her to see.

“The women’s game has come such a long way. We had a lot of pioneers to look up to when I was starting out so now for the next generations to have someone close to look up to, like your mum, it pushes you to do your best.

“I love seeing all the Jillaroos and the NRLW players with kids. I’d love to do that for my little girl.”

Kuk at Norths training. Photo: Christian Simms/Norths Devils
Kuk at Norths training. Photo: Christian Simms/Norths Devils

Kuk’s pathway back to rugby league was helped by the appointment of former teammate Meg Ward as the Norths Devils’ BMD Premiership coach.

She was looking at a return to Souths Logan – where she played before she fell pregnant with her son – but Ward reached out to Kuk and that was enough to get her to Bishop Park.

Kuk had to trial just like every other hopeful but has done enough to cement her place within the squad.

“I love Meg and I’ve played with her for years and I love who she is as a person,” Kuk said.

“I knew she’d have a really good culture. I’m a big believer in culture so I knew it was the deciding factor for me.

“I trialled for a contract and I ended up passing through to the next stage. It was cool to see how the game has changed and actually trialling for a position.

“There were so many girls trying out for her final squad and I loved that challenge, starting from the bottom again. I’ve never been in that position so it was awesome.

“Every session was a challenge – physically, mentally – but knowing there was no guaranteed position, it pushed you. It’s still like that now, fighting for that final 17.

“My first training session back, they chucked us straight into a 1.2km bronco, so that was a shock to my system.

“When I started training, my daughter was three-and-a-half to four months old. For me, it was learning how to run again. My body was all over the shop. I’m breastfeeding still.

“It was a real mental challenge. But in saying that, mentally I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. I can push myself a little bit more. What my physical body can’t do, my mental ability can go 10 times more.”

As well as Kuk, Ward has signed a number of big names to her squad for 2024, including Brisbane Broncos forward Annetta Nu’uausala, North Queensland Cowboys forward Makenzie Weale and up-and-comer, Montaya Hudson.

Kuk said they are all gelling together and in good form fitness-wise.

Now, with kick off to season 2024 just around the corner, Kuk said they are turning their attention to the big prize.

“Our goal is to win the premiership,” she said.

“That was the first thing Meg said. People say that want to do this and do that but we’re aiming for the stars here and I’m 100 per cent behind that.

“When we all believe and buy into that, I do think we can make it all the way.

“For me, I definitely want to be playing consistently. The big goal is to make the top 17, to play some good minutes.

“The ultimate dream is NRLW and playing for PNG again, which would be awesome.

“But first it’s doing the little steps to get there – staying injury free, being consistent, and hopefully the games speak for themselves. Hopefully I get looked at and can play at that higher level again.”

Norths Devils 2024 gains and losses


Leshaye Anderson (Aspley Devils), Armarni-Lea Auvae (Redcliffe Dolphins Harvey Norman Under 19), Shauna Barnham (Brisbane Tigers), Portia Bourke (Brisbane Tigers), Brittney Brown (touch football), Maddie Burton (Wynnum Manly Seagulls), Becky Davidson (rugby union), Georgia Hannaway (rugby sevens), Montaya Hudson (Brisbane Tigers), Jamie-Lee Lewis (Brisbane Tigers), Amelia Kuk (maternity leave/PNG Orchids), Ema Masi (rugby union), Annetta Nu’uausala (Brisbane Broncos), Milena Peau (New Zealand), Tayla Sykes (Norths Devils Harvey Norman Under 19), May-Marie Tareha (Penrith Panthers), Emily Veivers (Brisbane Tigers), Makenzie Weale (North Queensland Cowboys), Georgia Wilson (United Kingdom)


Therese Aiton (Western Clydesdales), Bertshiba Awoi (PNG), Annette Brander (Sunshine Coast Falcons), Ali Brigginshaw (Western Clydesdales), Shenae Ciesiolka (Western Clydesdales), Belinda Gwassamun (PNG), Lauretta Leao-Seve (Easts Tigers), Hayley Maddick (Sunshine Coast Falcons), Martha Malowi (PNG), Tyla Mitchell (Sunshine Coast Falcons), Hollie Twidale (rugby union)

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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