Back at Moore Park and refreshed and ready to go, five-eighth Zahara Temara says that despite taking out the 2021 Premiership, the best is yet to come for the Roosters.
With the squad returning for the 2022 pre-season last fortnight, Temara has returned following a three-month stint back in her home state of Queensland.
After spending quality time with family to refresh and recoup in the quest to retain their title, the talented pivot says that she is loving life back at Roosters HQ.
“Things have been really good,” she said.
“I’ve enjoyed returning. It’s as if we haven’t had three months away from each other, to be honest.
“The break was really good. I’m a Queenslander so it was nice to get back up there with family, get back to working but also just having a bit of a break and getting back into things.
“I’ve been trying to work towards this season being back in clubland. It was a nice break but it’s made me even keener for the upcoming season and we've just gotten back into the routine again.
Over the past two weeks, we’re well ahead of where we were last season at this point. What I feel about these first two weeks is the same as how I felt about the last two weeks of the competition last season.Zahara Temara Rooster #13
“A lot of the girls have returned, there are a few new faces and there's learning names but I’ve loved it.
“The type of footy that we’re going to play has me excited. Last season even though we did win, I don’t think we reached our best."
The Tricolours spent a weekend at the Central Coast for pre-season camp, which saw the players not only refine their skills with the ball in hand but also forge a strong understanding of one another ahead of what is expected to be another exciting campaign.
Temara believes their bond has only grown since lifting the Premiership trophy back in April.
“It was really cool, we’ve never had something like that,” Temara said.
“Over the past two weeks, we’re well ahead of where we were last season at this point. What I feel about these first two weeks is the same as how I felt about the last two weeks of the competition last season.
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“Even in Origin, though I was gutted that Queensland lost, just seeing the girls was like reconnecting with long-lost family members – it was awesome. That goes right through the team.
“The rookies have been stepping in and really adding to the culture as well. It’s a great feeling.
With over three-quarters of the Premiership-winning squad returning for the 2022 season, there have been a number of rookies who have made their way through the Club’s pathways system.
The skilful five-eighth has been impressed with the younger contingent and pinpointed two exciting Tarsha Gale graduates and under 19s Origin representatives as her standouts in the pre-season so far.
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“There’s a lot of them, to be honest,” she said.
“I’ve been really impressed by the younger girls, the ones who haven’t played NRLW before.
“I like what I see from Tessa (Otesa Pule) and Jada (Taylor), coming from the under 19s and both played for their respective states in Origin.
“I thought they were both awesome for Queensland and New South Wales and I feel like they’re really bringing that into the team.
“I love what I’m seeing from them at training.”
Another motivating factor for Zahara comes with the prospect of lining up alongside younger sister Chante, who was unfortunately ruled out of the 2021 season after sustaining a broken wrist in the pre-season.
With an open vacancy for the hooking role, there's every chance that the pair could form a devastating combination in the spine, and the elder of the two siblings believes it could happen sooner rather than later.
“She’s worked really hard in the off-season,” said Temara.
“I’m usually the one looking to push her but I didn’t have to – she was really driven and motivated. I’m excited for her for this season.
“I really want to be consistent this season and I do want to play my best footy. I feel like I’m really on the right track.”