1 September, 2022

Former Snake makes mark with Roosters

FORMER Caboolture Snakes rugby league junior Otesa Pule has had a strong start to her National Rugby League Women’s (NRLW) career, having been part of back-to-back wins for the Sydney Roosters.

Former Snake makes mark with Roosters - feature photo

The 19-year-old Pule made her NRLW debut for the reigning NRLW premiers as they began their premiership defence with a 38-16 win over Parramatta at CommBank Stadium in Sydney on August 20.

Pule also played in last Saturday’s 28-8 beating of three-time premiers the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.

The former Caboolture player donned the number 17 jersey as she was used off the interchange bench in both games.

Pule was chosen in the Roosters NRLW squad last year but the 2021 season was delayed until early 2022 due to Covid, and she was not chosen at all during the Roosters’ premiership-winning season.

Originally from New Zealand, Pule began her time with the Snakes in 2016 as she played at U14 level, before her final year with the Snakes was 2019 when she played in the U16s.

Early last year, Pule played for the Roosters Indigenous Academy in the Tarsha Gale Cup. In round one she scored two tries in a 42-0 drubbing of Canterbury, and she also scored twice in wins against Cronulla, Parramatta and Canberra.

The Roosters Indigenous Academy team reached the grand final, only to lose 30-4 to St George. One of Pule’s teammates, Keilee Joseph, progressed to NRLW ranks a year later, and lined up in the Roosters’ maiden NRLW premiership.

Pule meanwhile played a big part in the Roosters Indigenous Academy’s unbeaten season. She notched 13 tries in the team’s 10 games, and scored the winning try in the 12-10 grand final win over Newcastle.

Pule also lined up in the Queensland State of Origin women’s U19 team, which went down 22-6 to NSW in Sydney on June 23.

Snakes secretary Tim Wood said it was an understatement to say the Snakes were pleased and thrilled for Pule to make it to the NRLW.

“We are always proud when one of our own hits the big time,” he said.

Wood said he thought Pule had always been earmarked as an NRLW player and had been in the Roosters’ extended squad for some time.

“I think coaching staff were mindful of her age and also conscious of the great opportunity that their Tarsha Gale squad had, and allowed Otesa to build her game through this competition whilst still being part of (the) NRLW squad,” he said.

Wood saw quite a bit of Pule during her time with the Snakes, particularly in the representative ranks when Wood was the Sunshine Coast representative coordinator.

“She made the Sunshine Coast Falcons and then the Central Crows as a 14-year-old, Falcons as a 15-year- old and Falcons and then Crows as a 16-year-old,” Wood recalled.

“Her skills back then were very impressive.

“I also watched her come through Caboolture, being an instrumental member of a number of premiership-winning sides.

“I can remember being impressed seeing her back up and (hold) her own as a 14-year-old playing for the Snakes U16s.”

Wood said Pule was always lethal out wide, either at centre or second-row.

“When I was watching Otesa back in juniors, NRLW and (the) women’s game had not yet taken off, but I could see that she had an impressive skill set and a big future in the game,” he said.

“Otesa is a powerful runner and has great vision to run effective lines and trouble edge defenders.

“She regularly breaks the line and this shows in her impressive try scoring record.”

Wood reckoned Pule would learn a lot while playing alongside the likes of Jessica Sergis, Isabelle Kelly, Zahara Temara, Raecene McGregor and Sarah Togatuki, as well as playing against the likes of Ali Brigginshaw, Chelsea Lenarduzzi, Stephanie Hancock and Brittany Breayley-Nati: all premiership winners.

“(Those names) and the signing of Sammy Bremner gives Otesa a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw from,” Wood said.

“And testing herself against the best talent in the game will only see her develop further.”

Wood said Pule would “absolutely” be an asset to any NRLW club she played for, having worked hard on and off the field to develop her game.

“She is grounded and humble,” Wood said.


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