This article was first written for and published by NRL.com.
It has been a big 2019 for Millie Boyle, and she’s not done yet.
Representing NSW in the Women’s State of Origin win over Queensland, playing for the Wallaroos (rugby union) in their two Test matches against Japan have kept her busy over the first seven months of the year.
Further Wallaroos duties (an upcoming series against New Zealand) will follow before Boyle plays for the Broncos in season two of the NRLW.
That’s a phenomenal return for a woman who only came back to rugby league this year. Encouraging words from her brother Morgan (who plays for the Sea Eagles) have certainly helped.
Her return to the game she played as a child was also in part due to some prompting from former junior team-mate Kezie Apps.
‘I grew up playing rugby league until under 12s. Then I started picking up rugby union in high school and continued to play a few years after high school in a few competitions up in Queensland, then the Super W and National Tournaments and then to the women’s Rugby World Cup in 2017 which was awesome,” Boyle said.
“It was only this year that I started back with rugby league, not having a rugby union club on the coast.”
Thank goodness she returned.
Millie was one of the standout players in this year’s women’s State of Origin. Her front-row partner Simaima Taufa played the entire 60 minutes of the game and made 40 tackles. Millie carried the ball for an impressive 142 metres during her 31 minutes on the field.
Her performances at the National Championships, State of Origin and for the Burleigh Bears no doubt caught the attention of Broncos coach Kelvin Wright.
‘I guess it makes you feel special that clubs want you to play for them,” Boyle said.
“Kelvin Wright who is the coach for the Broncos, he coaches the Tweed team in the south-east Queensland comp and he has seen me play. I can’t wait to get in and play with the girls, there is an exciting bunch of talent coming through.”
There won’t be any gloating to her Broncos team-mates about the NSW win earlier this year, especially if Boyle wants to make friends.
‘I’ll be keeping that one quiet. They are mostly Queenslanders so I’ll keep that on the down-low unless it happens to come up,” Boyle remarked.
It will be a couple of weeks before Millie turns her attention to the NRLW season which starts in September as Boyle and the Wallaroos start a two-Test series against New Zealand in Perth on Saturday.
She said both sports have been supportive of her busy schedule.
‘Obviously with the NRLW coming up, they understood I had rugby commitments until then and then the switch into rugby league mode,” she said.
“Rugby union understand that they can’t offer contracts at 15-a-side level for Australia at the moment, so we have to go away. But they have been very supportive so far.”
While many sports aren’t yet at a stage where players are full-time professional athletes and until that time comes, Boyle thinks that women should be given the opportunity to play multiple sports.
Boyle said the chance to excel in different sports was something she hope to continue.
‘Women just tend to play whatever they can, so to be able to give them the chance to play cross-code, it gives them the opportunity to showcase their skills in more than one sport,” she said.
“Because our seasons don’t go for very long, the Super W and NRLW are just two months and are at different ends of the year, I don’t think it should be an issue. It certainly exposes females to a higher standard and level of sport.”