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Grand final spotlight: Devils five-eighth Georgia Hannaway

It could not have been any more evident this year that Norths Devils five-eighth Georgia Hannaway is back where she belongs.

The gun playmaker will this week play in her first BMD Premiership grand final, striving to make history alongside her teammates and coach Meg Ward as the first team to win the women’s title for their club.

She will not look out of place at all on the field at Kayo Stadium, as the Devils come up against the minor premiers in the Mackay Cutters.

But it was only six months ago that Hannaway returned to rugby league and found herself having to overcome the differences between the game and Rugby sevens.

Rugby union was where she started as a kid before she switched to rugby league at the age of 12, joining with Pine Central Holy Spirit and eventually Aspley Devils.

She went back to Rugby sevens when opportunities started to run dry but all along, rugby league was the code where her future lay.

Hannaway in action against the Cutters in Round 9. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL
Hannaway in action against the Cutters in Round 9. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL

“My heart has always been with rugby league,” Hannaway said ahead of Saturday’s grand final.

“When I did leave originally there weren’t too many opportunities but there were a lot more in sevens.

“Last year though I just had a switch flick in my head. I was at work and I was looking at the TV and saw the NRLW and I was like, ‘what am I doing? I need to go.’

“I had a quick chat with my coach and he said, ‘you know where your heart lies and you should go and follow your dream.’

“I came back and I haven’t regretted it since. I was actually supposed to go to Souths Logan but Wardy called me one day and said, ‘mate, would love to have you,’ and it’s been the best decision.”

While Hannaway knows she is exactly where she is supposed to be, it wasn’t smooth sailing at the start.

It took a while for her to get her head around the differences in the two codes again, but with the support of Ward and her Norths teammates, she started to build strongly throughout the BMD Premiership season.

“I turned up to training and I really tried my best but I couldn’t get it at first, just because it’s so different to what I’ve been taught,” Hannaway said.

“At first, I was very rusty. I do remember looking at the clock in the trial and being like, ‘oh no, there’s still 20 minutes left.’

“Every game I’ve learnt off someone. I’ve been lucky enough to play off (hooker) Jada Ferguson and (halfback) Jocelyn Kelleher, who I do learn quite a lot off.

“It’s been good having that connection between the three of us, which has made my job a lot easier.

“Everyone in that team has played a part in my development and I couldn’t have done as well as I did without them.

“Then Wardy, she’s given me patience and she’s given me time. She’s put a lot of effort into me which is something I can never repay her for.

“I turned up early every training and we would go out on the field and just run through kicking, everything, and she’s just put a lot of time and patience into me and for that I’m forever grateful for.”

Given Hannaway’s return to rugby league was motivated by seeing the NRLW on the TV last year while working in her job as a bartender, it’s only fitting that ahead of this weekend’s grand final, the 23-year-old has secured an NRLW contract with the Cronulla Sharks.

“It doesn’t feel real,” she said of making the BMD Premiership grand final and her three-year NRLW deal.

“I didn’t expect anything this year at all. I thought I would cruise back into league and what would happen would happen. I wasn’t expecting anything.

“I will leave after the grand final and go follow my dream. I’m so grateful to be a Shark and so grateful to be a Devil.”

A win in this Saturday’s premiership decider would not only mean a lot to Hannaway, her teammates and the club, but she views it as the perfect way to repay Ward for her faith in her.

Beyond this weekend, Hannaway has a lot of goals, with a view of going all the way to top of the women’s game.

But mostly she wants to show the next generation that anything is possible.

“One day I would love to play for Queensland, be a Jillaroo,” she said.

“But I think for myself, I want to tick off my boxes and be quite a good role model to younger girls who don’t think they can do it and want to do it.

“I just think I want to do really well and make my parents proud.”

Catch all the BMD Premiership grand final action live and free at and Kayo Freebies.

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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