IN a landmark year for Takilele Katoa she added another honour to her growing list as she was named the CRL Women's Representative Player of the Year at the Country Rugby League presentation night on Friday.
Receiving the award came as a massive surprise to Katoa who hadn't intended on going to the awards night.
"Our manager at the Dragons was insisting that I go so I had a feeling that I might have been getting an award," she said.
"I was told that I was a nominee, so I thought that was all it was, but then they read my name out as the winner.
"It was a huge shock."
It has been a strong year for Katoa which has seen her represent the Riverina Bulls and help them take out the inaugural Rugby League Country Championship.
From there she was selected to NSW Country team at the inaugural, and stellar performances at that carnival saw her selected to play for NSW in the Women's State of Origin against Queensland.
The talented Griffith local was also signed by the St George Illawarra Dragons who went on to feature in the Women's NRL grand final only to fall to defending champions Brisbane 30-6.
Playing at various levels is something that Katoa hasn't been taking for granted.
"It has been pretty overwhelming to have all of this happen in one year," she said.
"But I am honoured and blessed to have had the opportunity to play on all of these teams."
While the result didn't go the way Katoa would have liked, she said running onto ANZ Stadium on the grand final day isn't something she is likely to ever forget.
"It was amazing. The crowd cheering created an amazing atmosphere as we ran out," she said.
While having a strong season, Katoa knows she has more to offer if given the same opportunities next season.
"Honestly I thought I could have played better," she said.
"A lot of it comes down to having to be away from home and move up to Wollongong on pretty short notice.
"Being around the girls was great, and everyone was super helpful.
"I am hoping to get another chance next year and go even better."
It has been a strong season for Women's Rugby League players from around the MIA.
This season has been a massive year on the football paddock for Leeton's Tess Staines who has represented her state in the under 18s Women's State of Origin and has also been selected in the Prime Ministers side who will take on Fiji.
She was also a member of the successful Riverina Bulls side.
Leeton's Ua Ravu has also been gaining attention on the Rugby League stage having been selected in the PNG women's 9's Rugby League team to play in Sydney later in the month.
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