On the field, Simaima Taufa – who said she can play anywhere in the forwards – works hard to create chances for her outside backs.
Off it , the Mounties rugby league star strives to create chances for the next generation.
As Taufa prepares for her first her first World Cup match on Thursday, the 23-year-old has spoke of her passion helping the next generation as part of the Creating Chances program.
“I had some issues in high school so I know how sport can be used as a tool to promote leadership skills and teach life skills,” Taufa told the Champion.
“I have been out to different schools and enjoy mentoring children and running clinics that use sport to help children.”
Her immediate goal is helping the Jillaroos retain the World Cup.
It would cap off a remarkable year having won the Dally M Female Player of the Year medal and NSW State Player of the Year award. She played a vital role in helping Mounties reach this year’s semi finals.
First up is a date against the Cook Islands on Thursday and a match-up with fellow Mounties player Karol-Ann Tanevesi.
“She [Karol-Ann] understands once we pull on the jersey, on the field we will probably hit each other hard and off the field we are friends again,” Taufa said.
“There is no better feeling than pulling on the green and gold jersey. It is the best feeling you can ever have and it is always a proud moment.”
Born in Tonga and raised in New Zealand, Taufa played rugby union up until four years ago.
But a desire to meet new people saw her pick up rugby league.
“..and I fell in love with the sport,” she said.
“I love how brutal the game is. I love tackling and like hitting people – the physicality is exciting and fun.”
Taufa deflects praise when asked about her record-breaking year.
“With all the accolades, I know for a fact I wouldn’t have got here without my teammates and the support from my family and coaches and all the people that believed I could make and invested time in me,” she said.
- The Jillaroos kick off their World Cup campaign against Cook Islands on Thursday at Southern Cross Group Stadium.