Just four years after she played her first game of rugby league, Gloucester's Tayla Predebon has earned a contract with the Sydney Roosters to play in this year's NRLW.
"It's so exciting,'' Predebon tells the Gloucester Advocate.
A front rower she plays with the Central Coast Roosters in the NSW Women's Premiership. The Roosters are leading the competition but it's currently in recess due to the COVID-19 crisis in Sydney. COVID is also causing some complications with the NRLW, which is due to kickoff on August 21/22. This is now in some doubt after the NSW-based NRL clubs have been forced to relocate to Queensland.
Predebon wasn't sure what arrangements have been made when she spoke to the Advocate.
"But I know the NRL's pretty committed to it (NRLW) going ahead,'' she said.
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The teams were supposed to start training last week, but that's been put on hold.
Predebon, 21, said she can't wait for the comp to kickoff. She said she was 'hoping for the best' to get a run with one of the clubs in the expanded premiership that now includes Parramatta, Newcastle and the Gold Coast as well as established franchises the Roosters, Brisbane and St George Illawarra.
"But to get the call from the Roosters...that's just unbelievable.''
She's been pleased with her form this year.
"I've been scoring a few tries too, that's unusual for a prop. I scored something like seven,'' Predebon added.
The fact she feels more conformable in the competition has helped.
I used to be really nervous but I'm learning to back myself more and I'm getting more confident. That's paying off.Tayla Predebon
"I used to be really nervous but I'm learning to back myself more and I'm getting more confident. That's paying off,'' she explained.
Predebon played for Country against City this year in the State of Origin trial game and said this was 'an unbelievable experience.'
"The competition we play in is pretty professional. But Country was step up,'' she said.
"Being in camp was amazing...going to training then gym and recovery, it was just so good.''
Playing Origin is naturally a goal and Predebon reasons that consistently good performances in the NRLW can only increase her claims.
This has all happened quickly. She was attending Gloucester High School when she was introduced to the game four years ago. The school entered a team in a competition played at Raymond Terrace.
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"I'd never played before, but it was just so much fun. I got to run over people, it was great,'' she laughed.
From there she started playing in the Hastings Nines with Taree Panthers before Newcastle (now Central Coast) gave her the opportunity to play in the NSW Women's Premiership. Initially she commuted from Gloucester to train and play. Now she attends Newcastle University.
Predebon acknowledges that mixing study with her NRLW commitments will be a challenge.
"It's going to be a busy semester,'' she said.
"But this is what I want to do and I bloody well will.''
But this is what I want to do and I bloody well will.Tayla Predebon
Predebon hopes when she might be a fulltime professional rugby league player one day.
"I'm only 21 and that's young for a front rower. To be able to play professionally, that would be just a dream come true,'' she said.