I can’t believe the day is finally here.

I have been training for the Rugby League World Cup since November last year. It has been all I have thought about during that time!

It’s been such an amazing journey. In many ways, I’ve fallen in love with the process. The grind and competition.

I haven’t trained alone though; Rebecca Young has been with me every step of the way. We’ve really pushed each other these past 12 months.

Fortunately Bec is also my boss, so she too understands the pressures of football so it’s made us the best of friends.

The World Cup has always been our main goal, so to get to this moment means everything to us.

2017 has been a confidence building year for me.

I’m humbled to have won the Women’s premiership player of the year as well as selection into the Indigenous All Stars and New South Wales origin teams.

And I won’t be slowing down anytime soon – if anything, I feel like I am peaking at the right time.

Honestly, I just love playing football. It’s all I have known and wanted to do since I was 5 years old.

I’m from a little country town – a bush kid at heart!

I just love running around, crashing packs and getting gritty – it’s what I live for. I just love it!

I’m thankful I have an amazing family who support my love for Rugby League.

Australian Jillaroos' Caitlin Moran and Isabella Kelly receive their national jumpers ahead of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup (photo via @caitlinmaymoran)
Australian Jillaroos’ Caitlin Moran and Isabella Kelly receive their national jumpers ahead of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup (photo via @caitlinmaymoran)

Especially my mum – she raised us kids by herself; she’s always been a powerful role model in my life and everything I kind of do I try to do for her.

She’s made so many sacrifices for us. So now all I want to do is make her proud by performing my best on the footy field.

Despite also representing Australia in rugby union, it is the steedan ball that I have always enjoyed playing with most.

As soon as the opportunity arose to make the switch, I came straight over.

It all stems from when I was 5 years old; my brother made me fall in love with the game.

Whenever he’d kick the ball around, or do the things he wanted to do, I kind of tagged along and was the typical annoying little sister (love you bro!).

He pretty much had a little brother growing up with me, what with all the tackling and gamesmanship!

If I wanted to play, I wasn’t allowed to cry – so whenever I got hurt, I just played through it.

That kind of toughened me up, so when it came to playing with the bigger kids it never fazed me.

If anything, they were taken aback at how resilient I was!

My brother did pretty well to pursue a rugby league career himself; he played for South Sydney’s Under 20’s team, but unfortunately injuries cruelled his chances of making it to the NRL.

I think that’s why I don’t take anything for granted, and want to make every opportunity count, as I’m doing this for my brother as well as for me.

As for the World Cup, I feel as though we’re as prepared as possible.

There is always added pressure when you’re wearing the green and gold, but we just have to take every game as it comes, listen to our coaching staff and whatever team we field just make sure we follow through with our game plan.

We’ve done all the hard work, it’s about reaping the reward now.

I’m really confident in our girls, coaching staff and high performance team.

I know we are ready for the big stage.

Caitlin Moran

Caitlin Moran is an Australian professional rugby league player, and is currently the Australian Jillaroos' half-back.

Caitlin was a member of the winning Jillaroos' squad for the 2017 Women's Rugby League World Cup.