An inspirational speech by Sam Thaiday has given Brisbane Broncos centre Julia Robinson the belief she can outplay any opponent.
The 22-year-old sensation became the NRLW’s all-time leading try scorer when she scored her fifth career try in the 18-4 win over the Dragons last week.
Robinson, in her first year as a centre after playing wing previously, was up against reigning women’s Golden Boot winner Jessica Sergis and got the better of her.
Brisbane legend Thaiday made a guest appearance at Brisbane training in the lead-up and gave Robinson the mental edge.
"This is my first year of playing centre. I knew it was going to be a challenge going up against Isabelle Kelly and Jess Sergis because I knew they were the best centres in the game and I had to perform at their level, or even a better level than them," Robinson said.
Robinson feeling stronger than ever
"We had Sam Thaiday come to our captain’s run and he said you have to beat your opposition and get into their mind frame, and how to win as a team you have to beat your opposite person.
"That is how I went into the game, that I want to beat her and be better than her.
"It was really good having Sammy there as a pioneer of the Brisbane Broncos and we want to carry on the legacy. Obviously this hasn’t been the best year for the male team but as females we want to get our fans back and do the best for the club."
Robinson said she was unsure who she would be marking against the Roosters on Saturday but would take the same mindset into the match.
The clash will be a dress rehearsal for the NRLW grand final with both undefeated teams already qualifying. The Broncos, dual premiership winners, have their sights set on a three-peat as they deal with the challenge of a gruelling game-day travel schedule
"We played them in the grand final in the first year [of the NRLW] so it is going to be good to see how they go this week," Robinson said
"The fly-in and fly-out is a long day for us. There is the travelling in the morning and hanging around a few hours before the game but one of our values this year is to adapt and go on with it."
This time last year Robinson was fighting her way back from a broken leg and had a limited preparation for the NRLW season. Twelve months has seen a massive transformation in her strength and fitness.
"Last year I broke my leg and I had a week leading up to the first round of full training," she said.
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"I used that as motivation this year to get as fit and strong as possible because I want to not just perform for myself, but for the team.
"I worked hard on my fitness and cut down on my weight from last year to be more speedy on the field. I definitely feel faster, fitter and stronger this year."
The Broncos centre has scored in each NRLW game this season and intends to widen the gap as the leading try scorer in the competition’s history.
"I want to be able to score the tries for the team," she said.
"It goes back to natural instinct. I remember in my first year of rugby league [in 2018] the coaches just told me to catch and run. I just see a hole, and go for it."