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It wasn't that long ago Olivia Kernick was pouring beers at a bar in her local town Terrigal.

Now she's preparing for the game of her life on Sunday.

The Roosters back-rower, who has been one of the best rookies to come out of the NRLW this season, realised last year that night shift work and rugby league don't mix.

After representing NSW under 18s in 2019 and the All Stars teams to follow, she turned to her dad, a lawyer, who offered her a receptionist job in a bid to focus more on playing the game.

"I wasn’t getting enough sleep and that’s the best type of recovery you can have," Kernick told

"When I made the NRLW for this season I realised it’s just not practical."

The former representative netball and touch footballer has been a mainstay for John Strange's side in 2022, scoring three tries and playing every minute of the six matches in the back row this season.

She said it's only been more recently that she has begun to model her game on other players in the competition as she looks to make a greater impact.

Kernick scores in back-to-back weeks

"I admire a lot of the girls in my team and their strength," she said.

"I look up to someone like Jess Sergis or Keilee Joseph, who is just so strong in the middle. I look up to that and aspire to be the strongest girl on the field.

"I didn’t watch a lot of footy until I turned about 17. I was into it for the social side but finally switched on at the end of last year.

"Those netball and touch football skills have definitely translated across to league so I’m grateful for that but would like to get a bit stronger."

The Roosters' shock upset win over the Broncos stunned many but Kernick said not to those win the four walls of the Bondi club.

"I don’t think people realise how much behind the scenes work we do just like the Broncos, who have been an awesome team for many years," she said.

"I’m absolutely stoked to be in the grand final. It comes down to being able to believing in yourself.

"I think I’ve done that this year with the help of the girls around me, they push you every single game to be the best you can be."

Kernick added the side will need to be better at containing the Dragons than in their previous round five clash if they were going to lift the NRLW trophy in Redcliffe on Sunday.

"They’re a great team and with someone like Emma Tonegato, she is so hard to stop but we’ll build from here," she said.

"We know what they’ll bring to the table so do our best to shut it down."


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