NSW Blues five-eighth Lavina O'Mealey.

Indigenous Blues proud to be female role models: O'Mealey

Blues five-eighth Lavina O'Mealey says the representation of Indigenous women in the NSW side is where most of her pride lies heading into Friday night's clash against Queensland at North Sydney Oval on Friday night.

Along with O'Mealey, Rebecca Young, Nakia Davis-Welsh, Rebecca Riley and Taleena Simon are leading the way for Indigenous women in the game as they become part history as the first players to take part in the women's match under the State of Origin banner.

This will be the 34-year-old O'Mealey's last year in the game, and she couldn't think of a better way to finish her time in the blue jersey.

"Twenty-five per cent of this NSW team is Indigenous women," O'Mealey said.

"That was probably the proudest thing about coming into camp.

"And what a way to finish up my last NSW experience alongside some of my sisters."

Roosters, NSW and Jillaroos representative Lavina O'Mealey.
Roosters, NSW and Jillaroos representative Lavina O'Mealey. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

O'Mealey said one of the highlights from her Origin experience was seeing so many young Indigenous girls looking up to and drawing inspiration from those five women in the NSW side.

The match at North Sydney Oval is being supported by the Australian government's Girls Make Your Move campaign.

With studies showing young women are twice as likely as boys to be inactive, the campaign is why encouraging all girls regardless of age, skill, ethnicity or background to find an activity that they love is so important. 

"There has also been a massive following in the community," O'Mealey said.

"On Sunday we went and watched the RAB (Redfern All Blacks) girls game and just to see how many young girls were watching a cheering and just looking up to the girls like they're the biggest heroes, just makes me so proud.

"I can't wait to see those younger girls come through the pathways."

Blues prop Rebecca Young told NRL.com the pathways through the NSW and Queensland Knockouts, the Murri v Koori Interstate Challenge and the Indigenous All Stars had been a great platform for our Indigenous women and young girls to thrive.

"We've got a massive representation in this team and that again just goes to show that pathway through the Knockouts, Koori's verse Murri's and Indigenous All Stars," Young said.

"It is important for us to have those pathways for our young girls, and it doesn't matter where you come from, you can jump into one of those teams [Knockout teams] and be a part of that pathway if that's where you want to go.

"And to represent the Blues it's a massive honour and I'm so proud of each and every one of them because they've been able to show that professionalism that they need to have to be in this team and that's something that through the pathways young girls can learn and will learn."

Davis-Welsh is eager to play alongside her other sisters in the team on Friday night and is proud that they are all able to not only represent their state but more importantly their family and their culture.

"I think it's a huge achievement for us to not only represent our state but our families and our people," Davis-Welsh said.

"We are all really excited that we are able to play alongside each just as we do for Indigenous All Stars.

"For us to make this and in this level is just unreal and I'm extremely proud of all of us."

 


For more information about Girls Make Your Move and for inspiration on how to get active, visit www.girlsmove.gov.au or follow @GirlsMakeYourMove on Instagram and Facebook.