’What we’re doing is something pretty incredible’
RUGBY LEAGUE: Jess Powell cannot wait to take her place in Queensland sporting history this weekend.
The 27-year-old will line up with the CQ Capras on Sunday for the first round of the inaugural state-wide women’s competition, the BHP Premiership.
They will tackle the Easts Tigers at 1.20pm on Sunday at Brisbane’s Langlands Park.
Powell has the distinction of scoring the Capras first ever points, crossing for a try in the team’s 16-4 loss to Souths Logan in their first pre-season trial a month ago.
The Capras then registered a two-point win over the NQ Gold Stars in their second trial a fortnight ago, which has them primed for the competition kick-off.
“I’m getting pretty nervous but very excited for the first round,” Powell said.
“I think the last two games have got us prepped and now it’s go time.”
The Capras will be captained by Jillaroos star Chelsea Baker, who will play in the halves with Reeghyn Beardmore in a pairing that is showing plenty of promise.
Powell made the squad as a winger but will start at centre, where she played against the NQ Gold Stars.
“I feel comfortable there and I’ve got girls inside like Mariah (Storch) and Kailah (Rogers) who have played the game for a while.
“The biggest difference is probably in defence. You have to be able to read their attacking moves a whole lot sooner, you’re either up and in or you’re pushing out.
“At centre you’re just getting a little bit more involved in the game. It’s tested my strength and my fitness which is good because it makes me push myself.”
Powell is impressed at how the squad has gelled so well, given their limited time together.
“We’re lucky that we have some great leaders in the team and we have a lot of experience,” she said.
“We’ve got Chelsea Baker and we’ve got Tamika (Upton) who, even though she’s not playing, has been turning up to training and proving some really great insight into different techniques and different moves and different plays.”
Powell said the trial game victory was significant because it showed the Capras were “not just a team in the comp but a team to be reckoned with”.
She said it was important they made a big impression on Sunday.
“I think that would set our season. If we can make it known who we are and what we can do I think people will realise that they can’t come into our games easy and they’ll have to work hard if they want to get a win against us.
“We don’t need to know who any of them are, we just need to turn up and play our own game.”
The significance of this weekend and the creation of the women’s competition is not lost on Powell.
“I’ve only come into the sport in the last two or three years and I’m fortunate it was at a time when it has expanded quite quickly,” she said.
“I haven’t had quite the same experience as some of the other women who have played since they were girls.
“We’ve got players, like Chelsea, who have forged the way for us and helped create the pathways that are now available.
“When you’re getting dressed in the Capras uniform it feels amazing.
“But I think when you’re going out on the field and you have little kids standing there wanting to give you a high five that’s really special.
“As (coach) Amanda Ohl said to us, there will be girls in the crowd looking at you as role models, as stars in this sport.
“I think that’s when it really hit home that what we’re doing is something pretty incredible.”
The Capras four teams play Easts on Sunday - the under-18s at 10.10am, the under-20s at 11.40am, the women at 1.20pm and the Intrust Super Cup team at 3pm.