Wagga-born Jessica Pearson has been in love with Rugby League since she was young but limited opportunities to play the game in regional NSW meant she had to switch her focus to a rival code.
It wasn’t until a Facebook post informing her about the 2018 NRL Women’s Talent ID Day on the Gold Coast caught her attention that she shifted her focus back to her first love.
“I played union, for the most part played for Sydney Uni, until 2016 where I had an injury and took some time off,” Pearson told NSWRL.com.au.
“The NRL Talent ID day came across my Facebook page then I got myself back into gear.
“It was six weeks before I decided to go up and do that, so I put myself back into training.
“I found it pretty gruelling as far as endurance goes but overall fun and I met heaps of friends.”
The NSWRL is now looking to provide opportunities to players like Pearson when it hosts its inaugural Women’s Talent ID Day on Sunday 3 March at the recently opened NSWRL Centre of Excellence.
The Talent ID Day targets women aged 18 and over and aims to show participants pathways into the women’s game including the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership.
Pearson said her participation in the NRL women’s Talent ID Day on the Gold Coast sparked her desire to make it in the NRLW competition.
“After, I signed up and played half a season with Ryde Eastwood Hawks (RLFC), on-top of playing 7’s and now I’m trialling for the Wests Tigers,” Pearson said.
“My immediate goal is to get into Wests Tigers and then see what rep opportunities open up from that.”
NSWRL Performance Solutions Manager Brad Pryjmachuk said the NSWRL still had some positions available for the Talent ID Day for women who were interested in Rugby League.
“The NSWRL Women’s Talent ID is designed to identify players from other sports, and areas around NSW, who are interested in joining the Women’s Rugby League pathway,” Pryjmachuk said.
“We want to ensure that we are giving all athletes an opportunity to showcase their physical abilities as well as their Rugby League skills at the NSWRL Talent ID day, as well as educating them of the pathway to the Women's State of Origin program.
Harvey Norman’s Women’s State of Origin newly appointed coach, Andrew Patmore will be leading coaching sessions, while NRLW St George Illawarra Dragons coach Daniel Lacey and City Women’s and Harvey Norman Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs coach Steve Kelly will also be in attendance to scout talent.
For more information or to register, email firstname.lastname@example.org.