It was a little nerve-racking to be named in the starting line up for the first footy game post-COVID lockdown, but Gloucester's Tayla Predebon took it in her stride.
"I'm very nervous but excited about the opportunity," Tayla said, pre-game. "It's a big deal."
Tayla was named as one of the Central Coast Roosters starting front rowers for the Harvey Norman NSW Women's Rugby League Premiership game on Saturday (July 18) against Canterbury Bankstown at Terry Lamb Complex. This put a smile her face.
The competition only managed to get one game in before the season was shutdown due to COVID-19. A situation that was a little frustrating for Tayla who had been working hard to gear up for one of the toughest seasons playing rugby league she's face so far.
Due to lack of funding, the once 11 team draw has merged into a top quality six team competition jam-packed with some of the country's best players. Most of the players on Tayla's team play in the NRLW.
"Every game is going to be ridiculously intense. Everyone is eager to get back on the field. I think it will show in the contact," Tayla smiled.
Although this isn't technically the first time Tayla has been in the starting 13, having had the opportunity in one game last year due to injury, it's the first time she been awarded the honour on her merits.
She has been training hard during the shutdown and feels she's in better shape then she was before.
"When it first happened, I struggled. I'd worked hard for just one game. But I'm really ready now. I want to prove myself," she said.
Even though the time away from the game was not ideal, Tayla believes it was very beneficial from herself and her team. Since the merge of her former Newcastle side with the Central Coast, there wasn't much time for the women to play together before the start of the season.
"We all played well in the first game. We had lots to prove. But COVID has given us time to gel as a team."
It was a winning start for the Roosters as well, the side producing a defensive masterclass to shut out the Bulldogs 22-0. The Roosters now lead the competition on for and against.