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Rookie watch: Discipline and hard work pays off for Curtain

Ahead of the rescheduled NRL Telstra Women's Premiership, profiles the next crop of talent ready to make their mark in 2022.

Rookie snapshot

  • Name: Emily Curtain
  • Age: 20
  • Club: Eels
  • Position: Five-eighth/Halfback

For more than a decade, Emily Curtain has been brought up on discipline and hard work. 

If you can't find Parramatta's newest playmaker on a footy field, there's every chance she will be found in a gym, sometimes for up to four to five times per week.

Alongside her will usually be twin sister Sophie, who shares similiar interests and career goals within the game.

The pair grew up playing rugby league from age nine while also sharing a passion for Muay Thai, where they have previously held junior Australian and world champion titles.

Both girls quickly learned how to develop thick skin.

"It was good growing up playing different sports, you learn a lot about discipline and can use some skills from other sports in rugby league," Curtain told

"Those few years playing with Sophie and the boys, it made us tough and showed us that we really had to stick to it if we wanted to.

Emily Curtain poses after winning gold at the Muay Thai World Championships in 2018.
Emily Curtain poses after winning gold at the Muay Thai World Championships in 2018. ©Supplied

"We turned to Muay Thai boxing for the fun of it and it's really helped with training and fitness."

Curtain has been around the women's game long enough to watch it go from a sport with blocked passages to clear pathways for aspiring players to succeed.

The rugby league-mad rookie from Campbelltown had other ideas when they were set to be excluded from further competition at the age of 12 due to age restrictions in 2013, the same year the Jillaroos won their first World Cup.

With the help of their father Matt, created a women's rugby league competition in Sydney's south-west.

"There were a lot of girls who didn't continue playing and missed those crucial teenage years," Curtain said.

"All those key things you learn at that age a lot of girls come in a bit blindsided now but I'm pretty lucky that I've been able to play the whole way through."

Curtain grew up following the Australian Jillaroos and idolises former international Emily Andrews. 

It was only fitting that the young gun was among the first players signed to the Wests Tigers Harvey Norman NSW Premiership side in 2020 after coming through the club's Tarsha Gale Cup system.

Aside from wanting to help the joint venture establish an NRLW side in the near future, Curtain is determined to make the most of her opportunity at the Eels in the meantime.

She is among 13 possible debutantes in the squad vying for selection in round one alongside the likes of Maddie Studdon and Sereana Naitokatoka in the halves.

Emily Curtain on the charge for the Wests Tigers in the Harvey Norman NSW Premiership.
Emily Curtain on the charge for the Wests Tigers in the Harvey Norman NSW Premiership. ©NRL Photos

"I'm looking forward to the experience of playing with such high-quality players and to getting my own experience up," she said.

"I've been playing for quite some time now. The opportunity to be able to go to the next level is something I'm looking forward to.

"We want to make an immediate impact in the competition, make the finals and win that trophy.

"It's just great to see where the game has come from, to where it's going."

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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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