Inspiring the next generation
RUGBY LEAGUE: When the Queensland maroons women's teams took the field for the inaugural women's State of Origin match, they inspired the state's next generation of footy stars.
Taya Solomon-Alberts, of Kingaroy, was one of thousands of young girls across the state who tuned in and became inspired to one day pull on a maroon jersey herself.
Taya was especially inspired by the performance of Tallisha Harden at lock and continues to be inspired the Brisbane Broncos player's performance today.
"She was really good at tackling and she was pretty much in every single tackle," Taya said.
When the Brisbane Broncos women's team hosted a clinic for girls in Gympie, Taya was there ready to learn and eager to meet Harden and have the chance to tackle her.
"I was really excited to meet her because I never thought I would be able to," she said.
Following the clinic Taya sent a letter to Harden thanking her for a great day of footy and days later Harden sent one back with words of encouragement along with her personal Deadly Choices Brisbane Broncos jersey and training singlet.
A huge reminder of why we play this amazing game 😊 Received this letter from little Taya, a beautiful 10 year old girl from up in Kingaroy who travelled to Gympie last weekend with her family to attend the Broncos NRLW clinic. @brisbanebroncos @DeadlyChoices @WRugbyLeague # pic.twitter.com/s8ZHX5ZjTx— Tallisha Harden (@TallishaHarden) August 22, 2018
To play league Taya made the switch from ballet and first took the field for the Wonddai Wolves in under-6s.
Now playing in the U12s side and playing with and against boys every week, Taya is enjoying her footy more than ever.
"I like how the boys don't think girls can play football and then you smash them," she said.
Taya was ecstatic to score her first try this season at the Wondai mini mod carnival.
"We got a penalty and I got to tap the ball and run and I went straight through them and scored a try," she said.
Footy is in Taya's blood and with relations to Will Chambers, Chris Sandow and Steve Renouf, league has always been apart of Taya's life.
She sported a bruised eye for three weeks when she first started, after a head clash in U6s. She went to play for Bundaberg in the Wide Bay trials.
Taya's mum Amanda Steinhardt reached out to Harden to provide advice to Taya who has previously copped negativity for playing a male-dominated sport, and she is grateful for the encouragement Harden, who knows first hand what it is like, has provided.
Steinhardt is proud of Taya's determination to get out on the footy field and play the sport she loves.
"When she first started playing as you are you are terrified because she is playing against the boys and some of them are big but now the years have gone on it is just an everyday weekend and fingers crossed for no injuries," she said.
"It is a good investment when you they love it and live and breath it and she sleeps with her football so she must like it."
Every opportunity she gets Taya has a footy in hand and ready to challenge herself.
"She has got no fear and nothing stops her from, getting out and having a go," her mum said.
"I thought where is she, and I looked and she was out there training out with the senior men!"
Next week Taya will play in the Gold Coast Titans gala day at Taabinga State School after she convinced her teacher to give her a shot.
This weekend the Brisbane Broncos women's side will play their first game at Suncorp Stadium against PNG ahead of the first round of the women's NRL series.
Taya hopes to be in the crowd cheering for her role models.