'Mum's going to be so proud': Tahlia Hunter
Indigenous All Stars debutant Tahlia Hunter said she played the game 'over and over' in her head but still couldn't have imagined it going as well as it did.
The young winger scored a match-sealing try late in the 14-4 victory at McDonald Jones Stadium in the first ever win for the Indigenous Women over the World All Stars.
With her family making the trip up the M1 for the event, an ecstatic Hunter declared 'mum's going to be so proud' moments after full-time.
"I can't even describe it – I played the game over and over in my head so many times and I'm just glad we got a good outcome," Hunter told NRL.com after the game.
"The girls played awesome. I really couldn't have pictured a better game. I'm so happy it turned out well, better than I ever imagined."
Hunter's try was memorable for any number of reasons. Not only did it seal the historic win at 14-0 with only a couple of minutes to play, it came shortly after she was rocked by the biggest tackle of the night.
"I got absolutely pumped!" Hunter laughed. "But it was the last quarter. I just got back up and did what I had to do for the girls."
Her try was created by some lovely lead-up work by the one of the team's spiritual leaders, Bo De La Cruz, whose stunning cut-out pass opened up space for centre Caitlyn Moran to put Hunter over in the corner.
"I trust Caitlyn on my inside, I was so excited to play outside her. When I saw all the space I knew I was in," Hunter said.
"Bo's been awesome. She's the oldest of us all so she's leading us around the field so it was good to come off her as well."
Of her family, Hunter said she couldn't wait to see them after the game.
"I'm happy to have my family here as well… they're from Terrigal on the Central Coast. I haven't seen them yet but mum's going to be so proud," she said.
In what is a World Cup year, the All Stars fixture provides the most important audition chance for young Indigenous players who do not play regular top level club footy and Hunter, who currently plays for the Glenmore Park Brumbies in western Sydney, hoped to be able to put her hand up for the end-of-year tournament.
"Obviously coming into last year I missed out on making the Indigenous team so I made it my goal to play this time around and I definitely have my sights set on the World Cup," Hunter said.