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City weapon Torah Luadaka: 'Would mean everything to wear maroon'

When Queensland Under 17 City weapon Torah Luadaka was eight, she was in the sheds after the now Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons played and the fire in her to do the same one day was lit. 

That was in 2016 and ever since, Torah – who plays in the halves and fullback - has been working hard to learn, grow and excel. 

This year the Keebra Park Year 11 student played under women’s rugby league pioneer Veronica White at Tweed Seagulls in the Harvey Norman Under 17s competition and loved the experience. 

“She’s a great coach,” Torah said. “I just love playing.” 

Torah, whose has an older brother who played rugby league, first played footy with friends at school before convincing her dad to sign her up at Helensvale Hornets. 

“I started playing in under 8s for Helensvale Hornets with the boys... I just fell in love with it,” she said.

Torah (middle) with Ali Brigginshaw. Photo: Supplied
Torah (middle) with Ali Brigginshaw. Photo: Supplied

Torah said making the City side meant everything, noting it was the first step to achieving her dream of donning maroon.

“Just all the hard work and stuff that I’ve put in to doing everything for my footy... it feels good and humbling that it’s been noticed,” Torah said. 

“It would mean everything to wear maroon one day... with the girls I’ve always looked up to Ali Brigginshaw... I've always watched her from when I was younger... I went into the sheds with them after a Maroons game... I got a photo with all of the girls and got her shorts as well... I still have the shorts in my pool room. 

“Now, I just want to play."

Torah with the Maroons in 2016. Photo: Supplied
Torah with the Maroons in 2016. Photo: Supplied

Torah said her parents were very encouraging and would be there Saturday to cheer her on against Country. 

“They encourage me a lot and tell me to keep working hard and if I keep working hard, the results will come,” she said. 

City coach Ana Fotu said she was excited to see how Torah went in the game. 

“She is very exceptional,” Fotu said. 

Torah training with the City squad in camp. Photo: Jorja Brinums/QRL
Torah training with the City squad in camp. Photo: Jorja Brinums/QRL

“The good thing is she can play different positions so that’s going to bring a lot of depth and skills to our team as a whole.” 

Fotu said she had an “exciting squad” and she expected the game to be of a very good standard.  

“I've known a lot of them since under 12s, so to actually see them transition from grassroots up to now playing rep footy is exciting... I’m stoked to see a lot of them go through the pathway and if they can keep this up, I can see a lot of them transitioning to the NRLW," she said. 

Fotu said while the whole team was impressive with “so many outstanding players”, one player people should be excited to watch was Shalom Sauaso, who plays for Redcliffe Dolphins. 

“I think everyone knows Shalom as a standout... she’s currently playing open women’s rugby union at a representative level... but there’s just so many strong players in the team and there’s plenty of talent out there... if Shalom wasn’t there, there’s others as well,” Fotu said. 

“Uniting them, connecting them and making sure they enjoy the camp and come away satisfied is the main goal this week. 

“The biggest thing that you want is that they’re having fun, enjoying it and having pride in representing the jersey.” 

Fotu said the result on Saturday would depend how the team came together this week in camp. 

“Look, on paper, we have a team that can get the job done,” Fotu said. 

“But it depends who turns up on the day and that’s always the case. If they come with the right attitude, I’m confident, but that’s up to them.” 

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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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