It is so amazing when you see the future in front of you, looking right back at you.

That’s how I felt when the national women’s rugby league premiership kicked off last weekend. I had suffered a concussion during a trial game and so couldn’t line up for the Broncos when they debuted against the Dragons at Suncorp Stadium.

I was really disappointed that I couldn’t be on the field for what was a really special and historic occasion. But I was still part of the squad, in the sheds, hearing and feeling the emotion from my teammates.

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And that was when it happened. It was at the end of the halftime break, when the players were making their way back onto the field.

During the break some local junior female players, under 14s, had been involved in an exhibition match. They had then formed a tunnel for the Broncos women’s players to come through.

I was there talking to them, and one of the girls said: “I can’t believe that there’s a women’s Broncos team. It’s finally happening.”

I looked at her and replied:  “Well you know, that could be you. That’s something for you to look up to now. You’ve got something, you can play for an NRL club.”

She just looked back at me and said: “That’s so amazing.”

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There was the future. Right there in that 14-year-old girl.

I might have been missing playing in that pivotal game – and being part of a great win by the Broncos – but just to stand there and have that brief interaction was really special.

It put things into perspective. It gives me hope and belief that the sport I love has a real future for women.

It gives some of us older players an even bigger reason to continue our careers. It makes all of those sacrifices worth it.

It wasn’t all that long ago when I was a similar age, but didn’t have that drive to play rugby league for the Broncos, or for Australia, because that opportunity just wasn’t there.

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I loved rugby league, but it was just something I could watch with the family. Then it was a case of –  I’m going to go play soccer, or mum’s going to put me into netball.

What is in front of that 14-year-old at Suncorp Stadium last Sunday just wasn’t there for me, or for any other young female athlete.

Now it is different. These girls get to look up to real female role models. They can aspire to be like someone in the game. And that someone now doesn’t have to be a champion male player, like a Darren Lockyer.

Now they get to aspire to be like Steph Hancock or be like Ali Brigginshaw or Brittany Breayley. They now have these role models and it’s right in front of them, and they can see it. They can watch it and it’s amazing.

I grew up wanting to be a Bronco. Now, to be part of the first ever Broncos women’s team is so very special, something that no-one can take away from any of the girls involved.

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To see the competition come to reality last weekend was awesome. I had the biggest cry. All the hard work, all the fitness, the four training sessions a week, all the times we’ve been flogged getting our fitness right over the past six weeks. It was just like: “Ok, finally, that’s why we’re doing it.”

And we came out there and we put together a lot of shape and some structure and we played really well. Sure, there are still plenty of things we can improve on.

There was a real buzz in the sheds after the game. Everyone was just saying: “How good is that!” It was just surreal, such a mind-blowing experience.

I remember late last year, around the time of the Rugby League World Cup, the announcement was made that the NRL women’s premiership competition was going to happen.

In some ways that seems so long ago, but the time has gone so quickly and now it is here. I can’t wait to experience my first time on the field for the Broncos. I have no doubt there will be a lot of emotion … just standing there realising that the future has arrived.