Nakia Davis-Welsh’s Jillaroos dream becomes a reality tomorrow.
The former Kempsey resident felt “nervous” but “excited” after she was informed of her selection to debut for the Jillaroos in their Rugby League World Cup opener against the Cook Islands.
Davis-Welsh will line up in her preferred position of fullback and she’s seeking a solid performance in the hope of cementing a spot in the team for the knockout stage of the tournament.
“I need to do my job, play hard and play with confidence,” Davis-Welsh told the Argus.
“If I can stand out then I will put myself in a position to play in the finals.
“I will provide plenty of talk from the back in defence and hopefully add some spark in attack.”
Australia play three group matches before the top two teams from the two pools advance to the semi-finals.
The 21-year-old’s push for a starting position in the elimination round will be aided by club teammates Maddie Studdon and Lavina O’Mealey, who played alongside Davis-Welsh for the Redfern All Blacks, and will come off the bench for the Jillaroos.
The three helped lead the Redfern All Blacks to victory in the inaugural Harvey Norman Women’s Rugby League competition this season.
Davis-Welsh also has an established combination with the starting Jillaroos halfback Caitlin Moran.
“I played in a lot of touch footy tournaments with Caitlin and I think we will work well together,” Davis-Welsh said.
“It will help having Maddie and Lavina out there too, we played the whole season together.”
Davis-Welsh enjoyed a taste of the feeling of playing in front of thousands of fans in a Rugby League World Cup match last Saturday.
She joined her Jillaroos teammates on the field at half-time of the Australia versus Lebannon match.
“Being at the stadium in front of such a big crowd was awesome but the best thing was being swamped by the kids who wanted a photo or an autograph,” Davis-Welsh said.
“It made the itch to get out there and play grow even more.”
The Jillaroos’ opening match kicks off at 4pm on Thursday and is televised on 7mate.