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A lot has changed for Corban Baxter in the past 12 months since becoming a mum for the second time.

Since welcoming the arrival of Beauden Matiu Baxter in January, Baxter has been working toward her return to the field and has once again signed with the Roosters to be part of their 2023 campaign... albeit with a few changes this time around.

“It's been interesting," Baxter conceded. "[Becoming a mum again] definitely made me miss my footy... and just in general, being able to move my body how I used to before getting pregnant.

“But it just made me realise that there's more to life than just footy. I definitely have thrown all my eggs in one basket – that being footy – over the last nearly 10 years, so it was just nice to have some time away from it.

“Even though I was still involved, there was a lot less commitment. I was able to spend some more time with my big boy Carter who's 12 years old now, because I knew that my goal was to get back into the NRLW and I was going to have much more time for footy this year.

“So, I tried to use that time to have some quality time with family and work and do things away from a football environment.”

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A Cronulla girl at heart, there was speculation Baxter might be part of the Sharks' inaugural NRLW season this year, but as a member of the Roosters squad since 2019, she’s chosen to remain with her second “family”.

“I have definitely felt a loyalty to them,” Baxter said of the Roosters.

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“I'm a Cronulla girl and I always talk about if the NRLW had included Cronulla from year one – I'll be honest, that's where I would have gone, but that wasn't to be.

“I went down the Roosters path, and probably been the best thing that I've ever done because they're just a great club.

“They have looked after me and invited me into their family, and even though I've missed out due to injury and pregnancy, they've always just found some sort of role for me to be still a part of the club, which speaks about what they value.

“There was a little bit of talk about whether I would go to Cronulla this year. Obviously being from that area and having a new bub, it would definitely have been an easy decision. But I just felt coach Strangey [John Strange], all the staff and everyone at the club have just really had a lot of faith in me and I feel at home there.

"I've been there since day one now and we've built something really special.

“We've got some really high calibre girls wanting to come to the club and I just feel like really proud that I've been a part of that from day one.

"I don't want to walk away from that.”

Corban Baxter with the NRLW trophy.
Corban Baxter with the NRLW trophy. ©Scott Davis / NRL Images

As a game, there are more mothers returning to play in the NRLW – something which has been spoken about before by representative players like Tazmin Gray and Sam Bremner. While it is a relatively new space, Baxter said it was something exciting that clubs and the league would continue to work on to find the best way to welcome back the game’s top athletes.

“I think it's such a new space for elite women to be coming back into professional football or professional sport from having a baby, I think we're learning alongside the NRL and the clubs themselves,” Baxter said.

“A lot of it's off our own back because we're finding our groove and going off what we feel. 

“I have had like a couple of people outside of footy reach out to me and offer help and what not to, to get back in touch, which is really nice.

“Even going back to last season, the Roosters have been supportive in allowing me to be a part of the program still, even not as a player, but as a coach. And then coming back into a playing role, they've allowed me to speak about what I need."

Following an impressive off-season recruit campaign – which netted the likes of Millie Boyle from the Knights and Tarryn Aiken from the Broncos – Baxter said the squad had come together seamlessly despite the array of strong voices present. 

“It's actually been really, really awesome,” Baxter said. “I know when we saw the signings popping up and some big names coming to the club, there was a little bit of uncertainty about how the dynamics would work.

“But everyone's just come together really well and I feel like we want everyone in the team to have leadership capabilities. The fact that we've got such a strong group of leadership in the side is just going to work wonders for us."

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.