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World Cup selection fulfils lifelong dream for Sergis

Harvey Norman NSW Sky Blue Jess Sergis has finally achieved a lifelong dream.

“I’ve had it on my goal list for a very long time,” Sergis told after being named in the 24-woman Jillaroos squad to play in November’s World Cup.

“There was a lot of words around it (on who might be picked) and everyone felt confident about me, but I needed to hear it for myself so to get the call (from coach Brad Donald) was pretty special.”

Winning the World Cup for Australia would cap a remarkable season for Sergis who won a NRLW premiership ring with the Roosters in April, a State of Origin shield with the Sky Blues in June and a Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership with Wests Tigers in July.

“It’s been a massive year already – and I’m not done yet,” she said.

“That’s the best part about it. I’m in a team with the best players in the world playing for the biggest trophy in Rugby League.”

The 2019 Dally M winner began playing for the Cronulla-Caringbah Sharks in 2016 before moving to the Helensburgh Tigers and then the St George Illawarra Dragons in 2018, when the NRLW began, and finally the Sydney Roosters in 2021.

She was 20 when the last World Cup was held in Australia-New Zealand in 2017 and watched every women’s game. The seeds of the 2021 World Cup were sewn.

Sergis leaves with the Jillaroos on Sunday 23 October ahead of Australia’s first game against the Cook Islands on 2 November.

“I’ve never been on a tour in my footy career, especially going to another country and adjusting to the weather and playing conditions over there that I’ve not experienced,” she said.

“I guess that’s what the best players have to do – adapt to things quickly. I’m very much looking forward to the challenge of that, pushing myself to new limits.”

Sergis has already played fullback, centre, and wing at the elite level.

“We’ve got some great backs in this squad, who can play multiple positions, which is a great thing for the coach,” Sergis said.

“We did have a one-on-one chat last night and Brad wants me in the centre positions. I don’t think he wants to move me from that role – but anything can happen.

“Honestly I’d play anywhere even if I ended up in the middle! But I’m hoping I stay on the edges.”

Sergis played both the 2021 and 2022 NRLW seasons at centre for the Roosters and filled that spot on the right edge again in Origin, where Emma Tonegato often loomed in support.

Tonegato – the Rugby Sevens Rio Olympics gold medallist - was a late call-up to the Jillaroos squad, when Knights No.1 Tamika Upton withdrew with a calf injury.

“Emma brings so much passion to her role and she’s quite competitive in training,” Sergis said.

“I got to see her up close in Origin, but I’ve seen her in another light here with the Jillaroos. She’s really found her feet in Rugby League and feeling comfortable there.

“I have great respect for her as she pushes all of us on the field.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.