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With a charging, no-nonsense run for the ages, Newcastle prop and Singleton miner Phoebe Desmond finally felt like she belonged in the NRLW last month. 

Or at least in her own mind, her redemption story was complete.

A veteran prop who has never played at a level higher than the local league in Newcastle, was close to the hero the last time she played at McDonald Jones Stadium when a second half try dismantled the Eels defensive line.

Flocked by her teammates, Desmond’s carry typified a woman who was quite literally prepared to run through a brick wall for her team.

Since then it hasn't been as smooth sailing with the 31-year-old contracting COVID-10 ahead of round two and find her feet again in the competition.

"I’m just a girl that loves her footy, I love the toughness and the hits, the adrenaline... give it to me," Desmond told NRL.com.

“The NRLW is everything I thought it would be. It was physical and fast, especially for me. It's unreal, I don’t really have any other words for it.”

Desmond crashes over to put Knights ahead

Rewind to 2018 and Desmond had different feelings towards to the game.

A second serious knee injury in as many years, which included ACL and MCL ruptures, broke the spirit of the Hunter local but also allowed her to focus on her passion for coaching.

“I’m one of those people who will tell you when I’m done so I never thought I didn’t want to play again but it allowed me to put a lot more time and efforts into the kids,” Desmond said.

“The whole of Singleton came down [in round one] and every kid I’ve ever coached came to the game, there were about 60 of them, so that was unreal.”

NRLW stars and their bold predictions

The Knights have been gallant in their past three NRLW defeats but are desperate for a win on home turf a second time around in front of the home faithful.

For Desmond, who will come up against the likes of international forwards Kezie Apps and Elsie Albert, the message from coach Casey Bromilow is quite clear for the engine room.

“Run hard and tackle hard… I’m not one who watches other players or carries on about it,” she said.

“I just want to go up against the best. Win, lose or draw, we’ve just got to compete.”

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