Paving The Way
Sydney Roosters marquee signing Simaima Taufa continues to pave the way in Women's Rugby League.
Simaima was a special guest at the Sydney Metro Regional Finals, where she addressed over 100 talented female rugby league players on the growth and evolution of the sport in the women's sector.
The Australian Jillaroo and New South Wales Blues representative touched on a range of topics, including her rise to the top of the game, the pathways available to female players, and career highlights.
Starting her career in rugby union at the age of eighteen, Simaima soon switched codes to become one of the most dominant players in Women's Rugby League.
"My mates were playing rugby league and they talked me into having a crack, so that's when I made the switch from union," she said of her rugby league beginnings.
"Being a competitive person, I just wanted to beat everyone and win."
Her sporting career would take a fateful turn when she attended her first rugby league carnival, not knowing it was a selection trial for a New South Wales representative squad.
"I went with the intention of having fun and playing with my mates, and with some luck they chose me because I like whacking people."
Playing at lock, Simaima is consistently one of the best players on the paddock.
Her hard work and skills have taken her to the top of the game, and has seen her represent the NSW Blues, the Jillaroos, and being awarded the Dally M player of the year.
Simaima told the crowd about her career highlights to date.
"Winning the 2017 World Cup was a great experience, I loved it," she told the crowd.
"I got to play with some lifelong friends and the camp was so much fun.
"But for me, playing in the first Women's State of Origin was my pinnacle, playing for the Blues is the most exciting thing I've done on the footy field.
"The crowd was awesome and the atmosphere was electric."
At the dawn of the inaugural Women's Premiership competition, Simaima spoke about what it means to be at the forefront of this historic occasion, and how she ended up choosing to be a part of the Sydney Roosters squad.
"When the competition was I announced I had all these random numbers calling me.
"It was a bit nerve racking having these big clubs calling you, and being a female athlete you're not that used to it."
Simaima explained it was her close support network that helped steer her decision.
"For me I've always had the support network of my family and my coaches, they've always given me the best advice so I've never wavered from that and trusted the processes we have in place to get me to where I am today.
"My heart was leaning towards the Roosters because of the family environment at the club. For me, walking into that building you just knew it was a Club that had your best interests at heart."
Simaima believes the timing is perfect for female rugby league players to make their mark.
"It's all happening now, it is the perfect time to be involved in the sport, everything is changing and it is exciting.
"To come out to clinics like this and see all the girls getting involved, that's what drives us.
"We want to build a pathway so that you guys don't have to struggle the way we did to get the game to where it is today."
The talk ended with a Q&A session where Simaima touched on her game day routine, her role with the Roosters Community team, training techniques and her life outside of football.