A local girl, who has never played rugby league before, has been selected in the Canberra Raiders’ women’s nines team after she ticked all the boxes in two selection matches.
Jessica Howard, a veterinary nurse at Yass Valley Veterinary, was part of the Raiders’ first-ever nines match against the Cronulla Sharks on Saturday, March 11 at Canberra Stadium.
While the Sharks led by only two points at half-time, they ran away in the second half, winning 28–10. For Jessica, however, being selected for an open’s team without any rugby league background is a feat in itself.
Asked about how she became involved, Ms Howard said it was a campaign on Facebook that caught her attention. “A few of the girls mentioned about going to this footy trial that was advertised on Facebook," she said.
Jessica participated in an initial trial that led to playing for a second one that formed the overall selected team. As for the game, she admitted nerves about being in her first full-contact outing, but she was also eager.
“I was a bit nervous, but also more excited. I just wanted to get out there and have a go,” she said.
Her effort was praised by Olivia Boyd, Raiders’ team manager. “In the game, she went really well. She’s definitely a tough competitor. For someone’s who’s not played league before, she wasn’t afraid of contact,” Ms Boyd said.