Moranbah gem sets sights on NRL after All Stars selection
RUGBY LEAGUE: The opportunity to represent home and culture in the Indigenous Women's All Stars squad had a Moranbah woman unable to sleep from sheer excitement.
Last week, Mackay's Layla Fauid was listed in the All Stars team ahead of a match to be played in Melbourne on Friday, February 15 against the New Zealand Maori Ferns.
"I was so surprised, honestly, I've been trying to get into the All Stars team since 2016 when I actually took footy seriously,” she said.
"My mate messaged me and sent me the link, and as soon as I opened it I just started jumping.”
Coming from a small island in the Torres Strait called Poruma, Fauid said selection came as much more than just playing footy.
"It's a privilege, honour and blessing for me to represent my people,” she said.
"Poruma is a little island, with a small community... it's good to come out and put that little place on the big map.”
Remembering her childhood, the now 21-year-old shared fond memories of gathering around the telly, cheering on the greats in her Cowboys supporter gear, hoping that one day there would be a chance for her to put on the famous navy and yellow jersey.
"I've always been kind of tomboyish,” she admitted with a laugh.
"I grew up watching the NRL, Matt Bowen and Johnathan Thurston in the Cowboys, who were my favourite team.
"And I always wondered if there would be a women's league.”
The passion extended from the TV to her everyday life as league became a family affair.
"We would play on the beach, in the sun with my cousins and brothers, that's how it all started,” she said.
Now Fauid will join eight players in the Indigenous squad who have played either in the NRLW, for the Prime Ministers XIII or the Jillaroos.
Climbing through the ranks the promising forward contributed to wins in two of the county's biggest indigenous carnivals, forerunners to next month's NRL Harvey Norman All Stars. She also had a win at the Mackay Indigenous Carnival in the lead-up to her All Stars selection.
Fauid played alongside some of league's best, helping the Newcastle Yowies take out the NSW Koori Knockout and later, the Emu Girls to the Queensland Murri Carnival title last year.
"I've played Brittany (Breayley) in Brisbane for the club Sunnybank, and every time I step on the field with someone who's achieved, it lifts up my spirits.”
Fauid moved to Moranbah last year, spent one season with the Moranbah Miners and followed the path to Mackay rep selection and a signing with North Queensland Marlins.
"I didn't progress any farther from that, but I'm looking to go further this time round,” she said.
Now with eyes on the NRLW, she hopes to use her performance in the All Stars side as a stepping stone and sees no better way to improve.
"I've always wanted to go further. What I'm doing now is a massive achievement for me, and I'd like to go on and make selection into an NRL team,” she said.