Georgia Roche on semi-finals, Woman of Steel award and England call-up

Posted: Monday 16th September 2019 - 4:50 PM

When asked about the team’s Super League semi-final, the 18-year-old said: “That’s what we’re looking forward to now. We obviously can’t look past York who we play on Tuesday and then Saints on the 29th so we still have to look towards those games.

“Just as much as we have to work towards the semi-final we’ve also got to focus on maintaining the unbeaten streak. The Grand Final is there in our path to try and get there and win it but, I think the main focus is now to turn over the next couple of games and go into the playoffs with momentum.”

The youngster also had a lot of praise for her teammates. Roche has had to adjust to her new position of half-back since the start of 2019 but, according to the player this transition has been made simple thanks to the support of her teammates. 

She said: “If I’m being honest, it’s not been as difficult as I thought but I think that’s due to the girls around me. Claire Garner, the other half, has helped me. She’s very experienced, been to a world cup and she’s showing me the ropes, passing me all the things she has.

“She’s a very good leader, talks it up. She does the main bits, I just do what comes on the back of what Claire does. We’ve also got Sinead who leads from the front. She’s a big mouth without sounding rude. She also leads from the front really well. I just do what I can on the back of what those guys set up.”

Roche also admitted that the team is playing with a lot more confidence compared to the previous campaign.

She said: “This year has been totally different to last year. We’ve gone in with more confidence thinking ‘yeah, we’ve got this’ and look what’s happened. We’ve turned most teams over and hopefully we’ll continue to do so for the rest of the season. The confidence of the other girls definitely has grown me as a player.”

Back in that 2018 season, Roche won the inaugural Woman of Steel award after fighting off competition from team mate Tara Stanley and Leeds Rhinos’ Lois Forsell.

This year, Roche missed out on the shortlist but is delighted to see one of her best friends Kelsey Gentles make the nomination.

She added: “I’m absolutely buzzing for her. It’s been hard for Kelsey but they’re the things that go unnoticed. She’s one of my best friends away from rugby. I’ve seen the graft that she’s put in, the blood, sweat and tears – literally. All of it has gone into Kelsey’s training and performances this year.

“I’m over the moon, she deserves it more than anyone. She’s up against Emily Rudge and Courtney Hill, two other fantastic players and I’m not taking anything away from them but, speaking from a player and friend perspective I see what Kelsey puts into the game. I think she deserves it more than ever.”

Both Gentles and Roche have been selected for the England squad which is set to fly out to Sydney in October and take part in the Downer World Cup Nines.

Roche is pleased to have been selected but is even more thrilled to have her teammates alongside saying: “Over the moon to be representing England again. It’s always been a dream to play on the international scene.

“Just to be there with the girls is amazing. I’m buzzing and I can’t wait for it. To be with some of our girls as well, they’ve all been great and they all deserve it as well so it makes it even better. I can’t think of a bunch of girls who deserve it more. Hopefully they’ll get out what they put in.”

With England caps, a Woman of Steel award and two Challenge Cup finals under her belt, there obviously comes a lot of media work and public appearances.

While she may not love the spotlight, Roche does admit that she feels privileged to be in this position. She said: “No, I don’t really like it. But I suppose for over a year now I had to get used to it. I’m still getting used to it but continue to get that nervous feeling. I think that’s partly because I’m so overwhelmed.

“It’s a big thing for us. It’s really nice to see people wanting to speak to us and wanting to get to know us. But, I still find it very daunting. Also, I feel so privileged at the same time.”

Roche and her teammates have the chance to win the League Leaders Shield this Tuesday night when they host York.

The game gets underway at 7.30pm at the Mend-A-hose Jungle.  

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