Jillaroo and NSW lock Simaima Taufa took out this year’s Dally M Female Player of the Year, after her third consecutive year being nominated.
The historic award was introduced as part of the Dally M awards ceremony in 2015, as a way to give young female players even more to strive for. The award has set a high benchmark since its introduction, with Jillaroos Jenni-Sue Hopper and Kezie Apps winning it in 2015 and 2016 consecutively.
The award not only recognises female participation and talent, but is also a good publication for the women’s game. Being given similar awards to talented men such as Cameron Smith and Jason Taumalolo just shows the talent and ability of these women and the growth of their game. Being televised around Australia and watched by thousands, it also helps to build the women’s game and encourage participation.
The award is the cherry on top of an incredibly successful year for Taufa, being voted Player’s Player in the ANZAC Match, Harvey Norman NSW State Player of the Year, and Women’s Representative Player of the Year at the RLPA Awards.
While these awards are earnt year-round, it’s debatable that her performance in the Auckland 9’s really proved her toughness and skill. While it is still unknown which of the three games it occurred it, Taufa broke her arm in the tournament yet continued to stay on the field and be a stand out player. It is these performances of grit and a love for the game that make her so well admired by her teammates, coaching staff and supporters of the game.
This award is such a significant step in improving women’s rugby league in Australia, and has been won by talented women who are such an inspiration to aspiring female players.
On another note, with the Grand Final coming up on Sunday, there was no way I couldn’t include my opinion on that. I’m backing Storm to win by 6, in a close encounter. The Cowboys have had a fairy-tale finals run, but I just can’t look past the form of the Storm. For player of the Match, I’m backing either Cameron Smith, who’s in fantastic form, or Cooper Cronk, who has a point to prove in his final game for the Storm.
-The League Lady