Rugby 'girls don’t cry'! Dad's advice to star footballer
It's a piece of advice that Najvada George has ringing in her ears every time she steps on the pitch to play her sport - rugby league girls don't cry.
It's what her father told her when she begged him to show her a few moves after watching a game on TV.
It's what he said when she copped a knee in the face while practising a move or two with her boyfriend.
It's what she says to herself ever time she takes a big hit on the field with the Dragons in the NRLW.
"Dad said if you are going to play this you can't cry," George said.
"And I have never cried.
"My eyes did water in my first practice when my partners knee went straight into my face and it hurt so bad.
"But I didn't cry. I never have."
George is too busy loving the game, it's physicality, it's tactics, and the friendship she has made.
I love the aggressiveness, how we hit so hard. And we don't cry. Ever.
It's this love which bought the 20-year-old from her home in Melbourne to Liverpool to play for the West Tigers in the Harvey Norman women's premiership
And it's this passion which caught the eye of St George Illawarra coach Daniel Lacey when he was assembling his Dragons squad for the second season of the women's NRL.
George always knew she was destined to play sport - just not league.
She made her WNBL debut as a 15-year-old with the Dandenong Rangers and played in junior Australian basketball sides.
"I wasn't the brightest kid. I just loved playing basketball. School work wasn't my cup of tea,'' she said.
"When I didn't make the Australian team for the (under 17s) worlds it bought me down a bit.
"My partner was playing rugby league so I though I'd give it a go and just loved it.
"I remember my first hit up, it was 'oh my, this is so hard'. Running into contract, in basketball you normally run around it.
"But you can't cry if you play, that's what my dad said.''
George admits the aggression and physicality is one of the things which have drawn her to the game.
"I love the aggressiveness, how we hit so hard. And we don't cry. Ever,'' she said.
"I am an aggressive player. In basketball they took it personal off the court. In rugby league they get in there and get the job done. And then you are all friends after.''
The Dragons qualified for their first NRLW grand final following wins over the Warriors and Roosters.
The Broncos, the defending NRLW champions, advanced with wins over the Dragons and Roosters.
NRLW GRAND FINAL SCHEDULE
(All times AEDT)
1:15pm: Gates open
1:35pm: State championship grand final
4:05pm: NRLW grand final
6:30pm: Retiring and departing players farewelled on field, followed by pre-match show featuring OneRepublic.
7:30pm: 2019 NRL grand final