2 December, 2022

Former Snake competes in World Cup decider

PLAYING in the women’s rugby league World Cup decider capped off a remarkable year for former Caboolture Snakes player Otesa Pule.

Former Snake competes in World Cup decider - feature photo

Having played State of Origin at U19 level back in June, Pule made her National Rugby League Women’s (NRLW) debut in August and then represented New Zealand in last month’s World Cup.

Pule lined up in the second-row for Queensland which lost the Origin match 22-6 to NSW, before she made five appearances as an interchange player and one as a second-rower for the Sydney Roosters NRLW team.

The Roosters won all five of their round-robin matches, only to lose their semi-final 24-10 to Parramatta.

In the World Cup, Pule came off the bench in four of New Zealand’s matches and started the other fixture in the second-row.

The Kiwi Ferns won their first two contests 46-0 and 34-4 before going down 10-8 to hot favourites the Australia Jillaroos.

New Zealand won its semi-final 20-6 against host nation England to set up a finale against the Jillaroos, who were simply too strong as they prevailed 54-4.

In the finale at Old Trafford, Pule entered the arena in the 19th minute and had some strong carries, while also committing a couple of knock-ons.

New Zealand’s team included Pule’s Roosters team-mates Raecene McGregor and Mya Hill-Moana, while the winning World Cup team included Roosters trio Samantha Bremner, Isabelle Kelly and Jessica Sergis.

Snakes secretary Tim Wood saw a lot of Pule during her time with the Snakes from U14 to U16 level from 2016 to 2019. Pule played representative football in some of those years while Wood was the Sunshine Coast representative coordinator.

“We are very proud of Otesa, and it is great to see a local girl reach the highest ranks possible,” Wood said after the completion of the World Cup.

“She will be an inspiration to plenty of young Snakes boys and girls for many years.”

Wood said this year was amazing for Pule, and that it was “an amazing achievement for someone so young to progress through the representative ranks so quickly”.

“She was a bit of a bolter selection for New Zealand but secured her spot, and (it) was awesome to see her in the final,” he said.

Wood said “we all knew that Otesa had a stack of ability and huge potential, but if I am being completely honest, I did not expect her rise to be so meteoric”.

“What she has achieved this year has been exceptional,” he enthused.

Although Pule wasn’t in any title wins this year, Wood said this shouldn’t detract at all from how far she progressed.

“The Roosters were the form NRLW side all year, and it was huge that she secured a spot in the 17,” Wood said.

“Representing your state in the Origin arena is always a massive achievement and to represent your country of birth in a World Cup final is an achievement that cannot be understated.”

Wood said “without doubt” this year could be a platform or launching pad for Pule to play rugby league for many years to come.

“I think she has proven herself on the big stage and can only get better from here,” Wood said.

“I think she will benefit greatly from the input from different coaches and being able to play with different elite players.

“This year was certainly her ‘break-out year’, but I think the best is yet to come.”

Wood said he thought Pule would have a long and successful representative career, with multiple World Cup appearances on the cards.

“Her age is on her side,” he said.

Whether Pule plays State of Origin again remains to be seen, as she may become ineligible after choosing to represent her native country.

Wood said Pule joined some elite company of former Caboolture Snakes who had represented their country, with others including Jack Reed of England and Paul Aiton of Papua New Guinea.

Meanwhile, the Jillaroos team included Evania Pelite, who graduated from the Caboolture-based St Columban’s College 10 years ago.


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