O'Mealey Doing things in Reverse in her Final Year
Most rugby league players who play for Australia follow the path of club, state then national honours, but Lavina O'Mealey is doing the opposite in her final year in the game.
In the final 12 months of her career O'Mealey will go from representing the Jillaroos at the 2017 World Cup, playing State of Origin with the Blues then playing club football with the Roosters.
But before hanging up the boots the five-eighth intends to embrace every moment she has left in the game.
"I made the decision a few months ago that this will be my last year in rugby league," O'Mealey said.
"For me this year is about embrace my footy and soaking it all in.
"I'm not looking to the future yet I just want to live in the moment and enjoy this."
This is the first year the women's State of Origin will be parallel to the men's series, which O'Mealey is adamant will take the women's game to new heights.
And with so much talent coming through the ranks she remains humbled with her spot in the squad.
"It's very exciting," O'Mealey said.
"We've played the Interstate Challenge for a number of years now, taking no passion away from that but just to be under the men's banner I think it's going to take the girls' game to a whole new level and come Friday night it's going to be one fiery game and it's what people want to see.
"To be honest I was really worried about it this year there's so much talent coming through, no one can get comfortable in their positions and just to be playing alongside these legends, it's very humbling."
O'Mealey is among the veterans who paved the way for women's rugby league to be what it is today and feels she and the new generation of players coming through have a responsibility to continue to grow the game.
"They're (the women that came before them) our biggest supporters and they paved the way for us and it's important for us girls to be the best role models we can for the grassroots of rugby league. They're leaving the game in our hands now, I think it's in good hands and we will do our best to create the best pathways for the girls."
Blues teammate and Jillaroo Rebecca Young who has played alongside and against O'Mealey for many years, told NRL.com that throughout her stellar career she has always lead by example.
"She's had a huge career," Young said.
"A mum from Redfern, with a beautiful supportive family and for her to set the example and show everyone that this is where you need to be at on a professional level has been amazing to watch.
"She always set that bar really high for herself and just continued to achieve it over and over again.
"I couldn't have been more proud playing alongside her in the final world cup last year and the many time before that. She been amazing for all of our people and so many young girl look up to her and strive to be her."
Holden Women's State of Origin is ready kick off a new era in elite women's sport. Witness the spirit of Origin manifest on the iconic North Sydney Oval on Friday, June 22. Tickets available now!