Tackling former St George Illawarra Dragon NRLW teammates Elsie Albert is now an unwanted reality for Sky Blues utility Renee Targett as she heads into the 2022 Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership.
The state’s premier women’s competition kicks-off this weekend (23-24 April) with nine teams taking part including Central Coast Roosters, Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Mounties, Newcastle Knights, North Sydney Bears, St Marys Saints, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Wentworthville Magpies and Wests Tigers.
“I’m not entirely looking forward to that,” Targett told nswrl.com.au as she prepares for her second season with the Bears.
“I liked it better when she was on my side.”
The Round One game against St Marys will be live streamed on NSWRL TV on Sunday at 12pm from North Sydney Oval. After being teammates at the Dragons for six months, front-rower Albert is now with the Saints and will be running straight into Targett.
“It’s also hard to tackle her as she has been my close ‘sister’ and we went through so much this (NRLW) season,” she said.
“So, it is challenging to step into ‘opponents mode’ with someone you trained and played with for so long.”
And therein likes the mental battle this year for so many NRLW players switching back to the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership. Previously the NRLW season was at the end of the year; not at the beginning.
“The standard of play is still high, but I definitely think there’s a mindset shift because I’ve just spent six months prepping and learning the Dragons terminology and structures, now I have to switch back to the Bears,” Targett said.
“And it’s only been two weeks in between competitions so it’s not a lot of time to navigate the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership once again.”
Targett does have two Dragons teammates in Page McGregor (currently injured) and forward Aliti Namoce Sagano with her at the Bears.
There’s other NRLW stars in the famous red-and-black jersey this year including former Sky Blues Kirra Dibb (Knights), Vanessa Foliaki and Raecene McGregor (Roosters), and Nita Maynard (Eels).
“That’s the hope of NRLW players coming back to Harvey Norman will lift everyone in terms of skills and fitness so the overall standard does get higher,” Targett said.
The 27-year-old was a member of the 2021 Harvey Norman NSW Sky Blues squad and was again named by coach Kylie Hilder earlier this week for the 2022 squad.
“I’m really excited,” Targett said.
“I feel like I’m continuing to build and that shows I’ve made the standard expected of that squad. I’m super happy to be back there.”
The Ampol Women’s State of Origin game will be played on Friday 24 June at Canberra’s GIO Stadium.