Indigenous Women's match-winner Caitlyn Moran has revealed that the player she linked up with to lay on a match-winning try was not only an idol but someone she asked to sign her boots as a kid.
Towards the end of the women's All Stars game, Indigenous veteran Bo De La Cruz threw a sublime cut-out ball to centre Moran who laid on a try for debutant winger Tahlia Hunter and Moran said after the game that the leadership of De La Cruz – along with skipper Bec Young – had been vital to the team's success.
"It's been a massive dream of mine [to play with De La Cruz]," Moran told NRL.com.
"I got her to sign my boots when I was 11.
"She leads the way, she's very vocal. A lot of the girls in the team have looked up to her as young Indigenous girls growing up. She's paved the way, her and Bec Young, done the hard work for us, brought us up and they're very good leaders for us."
Moran said the communication between the pair in laying on the final try showed the compatibility of their playing styles.
"All she did, she gave me a look, I knew what was happening. Cut-out ball, we knew straight away, it was open, one little look and it was on," Moran said.
To play a part in the first ever win for the Women's Indigenous All Stars after years of heartbreak was massive, Moran said.
"We can't believe it, we've never won but it's done. We did it. We finally did it. We knew we had to lead from the start but we got in and it's done," she said.
"Big credit to all the girls that have played before us. I've played the last three or four years. Every year it's a heartbreak. We really do try our heart out every year but this year we were more professional, we were more taken care of, it was something else.
"Big credit to Bec Young, she led us out there, led the way, captained the team."
It's been a massive two weeks for Moran, who is coming off the Jillaroos' first ever Auckland Nines win over the Kiwi Ferns and the year could finish with her first ever World Cup.
"Coming off the Auckland Nines win, to come here and win in my own backyard like that, I'm on a high," the Newcastle local said.
"I was absolutely buggered by Wednesday but I got the acupuncture and massages. I knew I had to dig deep for my culture and my girls here. They believed in me. I've got massive respect for the team, I knew I had to perform."