Griffith-born Lauren Salvestro represented her home state of NSW in the Touch Ruby League (TRL) Women's State of Origin on Friday night.
In addition to representing Canberra in the TRL Australian Championships mixed side, Lauren was been selected in the sport’s first all-women’s New South Wales team.
The local girl has been playing for the Canberra Vikings since early 2016.
Going into the State of Origin, she was nervous but looking forward to the challenge.
“I’m nervous to compete at that level. I am excited as well. It’s a great chance to step up a level and compete.”
The Women’s State of Origin was played over three games on Friday evening. The NSW side won the first game 3 – 2, with Lauren scoring the first try of the match.
Unfortunately, they were beaten by Queensland in the final two rounds of the weekend.
For Lauren, the journey to representing her state began with a simple social game.
“I started playing in April 2015 when the sport came to Canberra. I signed up to be on a work team,” she said.
“From there, I got selected on the Canberra representative side for the Championships.”
She went on to represented Canberra again for the NSW State Championships this past July.
Lauren has enjoyed watching the sport grow over the last eighteen months.
“It’s really exciting that the sport is expanding that much that it can include a high level women’s competition as well,” she said.
Lauren grew up in Griffith, moving to Canberra for university in 2011. She was first introduced to Rugby League while she was at high school in her home town.
She credits those social games with introducing her to the sport.
“I played socially mixed while in high school down at Ted Scobie Oval,” she said.
“It was good introduction. TRL is a little bit different in the way that it’s played, but it was definitely a great start.”
For Lauren, it’s always been about more than winning. The friendships that have formed are priceless.
“The sport has been a really good way to meet a lot of different people,” she said.
“I’ve made a lot of really good, lifelong friends.”