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NRLW contract has Young feeling like a spring chicken again

A change of club coach and training regime has given Sydney Roosters recruit Rebecca Young a fresh outlook on the game after securing her first contract in the NRL Holden Women's Premiership last month.

The mother of two, based in the Hunter with husband and former Knights utility Mick Young, was one of the final players signed by last year's grand finalists, who will be coached by former NRL mentor Rick Stone.

At 37 and having achieved everything in the game but an NRLW contract, Young had put the competition on the back-burner after she was overlooked for the inaugural season last year.

The seasoned campaigner is now on track to become the first wife of a former NRL player to play in the women's competition. 

"I had to get through my head that the NRLW didn't make me as a player," Young told NRL.com of last year's disappointment. 

"It only came down to four people's opinions – the head coaches of each team – their opinion in regards to how I play or what I could offer.

"I had to overcome that mental barrier and that's why I've put a lot of focus into the local CRL Newcastle team this year. The NRLW hadn't been my goal for this season after last year."

Young's change of mental approach towards the women's game has given her a boost at a time she could've easily walked away and been content with a stellar career that has included captaining the Indigenous All Stars, a World Cup triumph and State of Origin victories.

Rebecca Young at the women's All Stars game.
Rebecca Young at the women's All Stars game. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

She reset her training program over the summer, reverting to old-school sprint sessions she used to do at a younger age while taking on a lesser manager and coaching role off-field to focus on her own performances.  

"I haven't taken the stress on of what other people are doing," she said. 

"My two training partners Margaret Watson and Amy Broadhead, they don't make our club team every week but they come to every single training session and push me and that's been really inspiring from my point of view."

A phone call from Stone out of the blue sealed the deal for Young, who will commute to training and games from Newcastle during the four-week competition.

She added a speech from Roosters NRL coach Trent Robinson during the squad's induction day recently immediately made the Novocastrian feel a part of the Bondi club.

"He said it doesn't matter if you're James Tedesco or number 22 in the women's squad, you're a part of this club and you should feel proud to be a Rooster," Young said.

"I felt connected to the club straight away and they have all the facilities there for us to compete at our best level.

"I'm grateful to the Roosters that they want me to be a part of the club and I take my hat off to them for being proactive towards the women's game and will be doing everything I can to help promote them."