Samara Afele will put a prospective career in law enforcement on hold after a shock contract offer to play with the Cronulla Sharks in the 2022 NRL Women's competition.
The Yass Magpies star who hails from Parkes was contacted out of the blue, after the Sharks discovered a Youtube video of Afele playing in the Canberra competition.
"I had actually applied for the AFP academy, but since this has come up, I have put it on hold now to see how this goes," Afele said.
It's been a rapid rise for Afele, who grew up playing hockey and only started playing rugby league in 2018. It wasn't until she moved to Canberra for university that a friend invited her out to Yass to play for the Magpies.
"That was it, I just stayed out in Yass - I love it out there," Afele said.
It's been an upward trajectory since then. Earlier this year she made the Monaro women's team for the Country Championsihps.
The second-row forward was also captain of the Yass Magpies' Katrina Fanning side, who were joint top of the table before the season was cut short by COVID.
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Afele had bagged nine tries and was en route to captaining her team to a grand final before the ACT went into lockdown.
"It sucked. Especially because the year before we didn't get to play together. We finally got the whole team back together, and literally, there were three rounds left and we didn't get to finish it off," Afele said.
While 2021 didn't go as planned, Afele was planned to give it her all at the Sharks and was hopeful of making her NRL Women's debut.
"If it came up, it is something I would love to do," Afele said.
The NRL postponed this year's Women's competition until early next year, citing nationwide lockdowns caused by COVID-19.