There’s plenty of excitement surrounding the third NRLW season ahead of kick off this weekend, and one of the major talking points heading into game one is rugby sevens sensation Charlotte Caslick.
Caslick is a household name within the Australian Rugby community, proving one of the lethal members of the Women's squad with her slick ball skills, defensive mindset and blinding speed.
After claiming the gold medal with Australia in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Caslick went on to be one of the star performers in the 2018 Sydney 7s, where the Australian women’s team didn't concede a single try throughout the tournament.
With the current climate putting a delay on the 2020 Olympic Games, Caslick was given a window of opportunity to join the Tricolours for the upcoming NRLW season.
She was named to start at five-eighth for her official NRLW debut this Saturday afternoon, and it's safe to say that Charlotte is feeling comfortable as preparations ramp up for game one.
First RoostersTV with Charlotte Caslick | Week One
“After the team was named, we got into our positions and had our first team run,” Charlotte said to RoostersTV.
“After that I’m feeling a lot more confident and comfortable with where I am.
“I’m really excited.”
With eight years of rugby sevens experience, Charlotte has been working hard to adjust to the rugby league arena.
While she noted that there are key differences between the two codes, there’s comfort in not only her ability to adjust, but confidence in the squad and coaching staff.
“There’s a lot of learning and a few differences coming from a rugby union background that I’m working to get my head around.
“It’s been really good.
“The coaching staff has been helpful and the girls have been really great.
“They’ve been super supportive and ready to answer any questions I throw at them.”
Caslick has quite the highlight reel that showcases her attacking prowess, but also receives widespread acclaim for her ability to save tries from being scored on the biggest stages in rugby.
A stickler for details and fond of a new challenge, Charlotte says that the biggest adjustment in the code swap has been on the defensive end of the field.
While she thrives in a 'play what you see' open space environment, Caslick is now learning to improve on her craft within a structure.
NRLW Team Talk with Jamie Feeney | Week One
“Rugby league is a lot more structured to what I’m used to with sevens, where we sort of do what we want and play what’s in front of us.
“It’s about learning those structures, then defensively there’s a contact focus of tackling low vs high and slowing down the play-the-ball would be the key difference.
“It’s all about getting those techniques right.
“I’ve been with sevens for the past eight years, so I think the challenge is really great.
“I think it’ll be awesome to take the things I learn from rugby league back to sevens, and vice versa bringing my skillset from sevens to rugby league.”
Caslick has been a fan of the women's game since its inaugural season in 2018, but her commitments have never allowed her an opportunity to get involved.
Having grown up playing a number of different sports, when the window opened for her at the Roosters it was an easy decision to take on the opportunity.
Despite being named at five-eighth, Caslick believes that the diverse 2020 squad would have allowed her to line-up anywhere within the backline.
“I’ve always wanted to give the NRLW a go.
“Although it was disappointing for the (Olympic) games to be cancelled, it’s opened up this opportunity which is super exciting.
“I think we’ve got a really versatile backline, so we all could have fit in anywhere.
“I’m really happy to be named there, hopefully get my hands on the ball a lot and try stay as busy as possible.”
When learning how to adjust to a new game, it’s important to take on as many lessons you can and take in as much advice as you can get.
Who better to receive some playmaking pointers from than champion former Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk?
Cooper joined members of the squad for a zoom chat during their first week of training to share some of his insights as one of the great playmakers to play rugby league.
It was never in doubt that his feedback would go on to be well received within the squad.
“It was awesome!
“We did it over Zoom with all the halves and hookers in our squad.
“It was great to listen to him and hear what he had to say.
“He keeps it really simple, so I think that was helpful for us.
“Just giving us simple cues to work off and I think I’ll definitely be taking that into the game on the weekend.”
Cronk relishes the opportunity of sharing his wisdom, and was happy to discuss his learnings with the women's team to help prepare for their 2020 campaign.
"I used to play with Jamie (Feeney) back in the day at Melbourne, and was happy to help out when he called me up," Cronk said at RoostersHQ.
"I just spoke to the team to go over some of the fundamentals that I learnt as a halfback in my early years and over fifteen years playing the game.
"It's the same sort of stuff that I went over with Keary and Flanagan in the pre-season.
"Charlotte has certain skills as a natural ball player that you can't coach, and that's speed and determination.
"She can use that speed to burn a couple of players and squeeze her teammates through a few gaps in the defence."
The Roosters NRLW team will kick off their 2020 campaign when they take to the field against the St. George Illawarra Dragons on Saturday.
I’m confident and I’m excited.Charlotte Caslick When asked about Game One
Match: Roosters v Dragons
Round 1 -
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra