Tarryn Aiken’s first season in rugby league – well since when she was a small junior after she whinged to her mother to let her play in her brother’s team when she was six – has ended with a meteoric to international representation.
Aiken has been called into the Australian Jillaroos team for this weekend’s World Cup Nines in Sydney after withdrawals of Brittany Breayley and Tamika Upton.
It is an amazing rise for the 20-year who only joined the Seagulls women’s team February after having concentrated on touch football for many years, gaining selection in the Australian under-20s.
She was a stand-out at halfback in Tweed’s first season in the South-East Queensland division one competition under coach Kelvin Wright, winning the team’s players’ player award.
She was then contracted to Wright’s Brisbane Broncos side that went on to win their second successive grand final in the NRLW competition, playing as hooker off the bench.
Now she has had to abandon some important university work after rushing to Sydney to take her place in Brad Donald’s Jillaroos – becoming the club’s first women’s Australian international.
Having played just four games off the bench in Brisbane’s successful NRLW premiership defence, after just seven appearances with the Seagulls, Tarryn was naturally in shock when she received a call from Donald on Monday afternoon.
“I was just sitting at home. It was pretty random, I wasn’t expecting it,” Aiken told nrl.com.au.
“But I was really excited when he asked me.
“I pretty much had an hour from when I got off the phone to [Donald] to get ready and get ready and get to the airport, pack my bag, and then I came straight here to the airport and then trained this morning.”
Aiken had to quickly defer her psychology exams at Griffith University on hold to represent her country this weekend.
“They’ll sort it out. The sports college said they’ll help me defer it so it’s not officially done but… I have faith.”
Donald told nrl.com.au: “Tarryn had a terrific debut season with the Broncos this year and brings plenty of skill and speed across the field.
“She’ll have plenty of experience around her and I’m looking forward to seeing our Australian women take on our competitors this Friday and Saturday at Bankwest Stadium.”