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French player determined to fulfil NRLW dream

France representative Laur'eane Biville is aiming to become the first European player to earn an NRLW contract.

The 20-year-old is so determined to fulfil her ambition of playing in the NRLW that she moved to Australia earlier this year to play for Brisbane club Easts Tigers and has now established a crowdfunding account to enable her to stay for another season.

"I have always wanted to play in Australia and to play with the best," Biville said.

"A lot of people in France told me I was a woman so I couldn't play [rugby league] and that I couldn't play in the NRLW because it was too big for a French woman so I would just be very proud to show them that I can do it."

After making her Test debut for France against England as a 17-year-old in 2017, Biville learned that Easts Tigers had a French coach on their staff, Laurent Garnier.

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Garnier, who is also a pathways squad coach for Melbourne Storm, was keen for an ambitious young French player with a passion for the game to learn from playing alongside established stars Vanessa Foliaki and Karina Brown.

Biville fitted the bill perfectly.

Not only was she a promising talent but Biville had actively taken a role in promoting women's rugby league in French-speaking Cameroon, with the inaugural Laur'eane Biville tournament held in July.

The competition in Australia is growing very fast and they have the opportunity to play at the best level

NRLW hopeful, Frenchwoman Laur'eane Biville

"I am really proud of it," she said. "It is a little bit crazy and funny at the same time because I just want to help the federation and make the players realise that they are women and they can play footy if they want to. If playing footy is their dream and I can help them, that is the best part of it."

As for her own dream, Biville wants one more shot at playing NRLW and is aware that if she does not succeed in 2020 she may not get another chance due to visa restrictions.

With the introduction of the NRWL in 2018, Biville made the move to Australia 12 months ago in the hope of earning a contract in the second season of the competition with the Broncos, Dragons, Roosters or Warriors.

A lengthy lay-off due to injury disrupted her season with Easts Tigers, but Biville was still selected at centre for a Gold Coast Titans invitational squad which played at Cbus Super Stadium before the club's final home match against St George Illawarra.

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"The game with the Titans was very good for me," she said. "All the coaches said if I keep working very hard I can make it.

"The competition in Australia is growing very fast and they have the opportunity to play at the best level. That's my goal, to play in the NRLW but I don't have a long time to do it because I cannot renew my visa all the time.

"For now I am asking for a second visa but if I want to stay longer I will have to sign a contract for the next season [in 2020]."

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With a limited ability to earn income in Australia, Biville is seeking help to meet expenses associated with her bid to play in the NRLW, including a new visa, and she has established an appeal through French crowdfunding site

"I have been working very hard every day for five years now and it would mean a lot to me to play in the NRLW but it’s not easy," Biville said.

"I don’t have any help so that is the hardest part of the adventure for me. With my visa I have to do three months of regional work and I just finished two weeks ago on a farm in Ballina but I couldn't earn a lot of money and I have to pay for a lot of things here."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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