On the field, Simaima Taufa is pound for pound one of the toughest and strongest competitors in women’s rugby league.
But off the field, the Parramatta Eels captain is equally as impressive.
Taufa is in contention for the prestigious 2021 Veronica White medal (delayed due to the NRLW’s postponement) for her work in the community.
It is the third time Taufa has been nominated for the medal since the award was introduced in 2019, equivalent to the men’s Ken Stephens medal.
The 27-year-old is nominated alongside Titans winger Karina Brown, Broncos forward Tallisha Harden and Roosters playmaker Jocelyn Kelleher.
“Isn’t it third time’s a charm?,” Taufa joked.
“I’m just happy to see all the girls are still giving back to the community, that’s the biggest thing about it, that we’re being recognised for playing our part.”
Taufa hopes to volunteer further time to Penrith Emu Plains’ under 17s team this year after giving up her time last season prior to the COVID-19 pandemic cancelling community rugby league in NSW.
2020 Veronica White Medallist – Georgia Hale
The 27-year-old helped manage a side, from volunteering with team sheets, making sure all the players got to training and organising game day with jerseys and other essential requirements.
She even used her contacts to reach out and organise items like strapping tape for the trainers to use on players.
“I know I have massive respect for the staff we do have on board at every club and team I’m involved in, a lot of that gets undervalued,” Taufa said.
“To be at the opposite end and be staff for someone else is really refreshing and I’m hoping to continue to do work in that space for teams more in the future.”
Taufa’s off-field contributions also extend to her international roots with the Tongan-born star recently left devastated by the volcano eruption in January.
In 2018, Taufa helped promote the voice against violence program in 2018 in a bid to address and reduce incidences of family violence.
To support rugby league development in Tonga, Taufa regularly donates rugby league playing kits to youth clubs.
“Just to read stories about families having to swim from island to island and watching videos of children crying while standing on top of tables with water around, it was devastating,” Taufa said.
“I took for granted that Tonga will always be there so it's hard to see how much devastation has been caused for the whole nation.
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“What the NRL is doing to support is amazing to witness and knowing I’m involved in a code that is willing to help give back to any community.
“We know with the current structure we have in the NRL and NRLW that many of the athletes involved are of pacific islander heritage.
“I’m proud to be part of an industry that supports the community.”
The Veronica White medal winner will be announced on April 10.