HIGHER HONOURS: Rockhampton’s Meagan Rickertt will play for the Philippines Sampaguitas at the Cabramatta International Nines in Sydney this weekend. Picture: Allan Reinikka
HIGHER HONOURS: Rockhampton’s Meagan Rickertt will play for the Philippines Sampaguitas at the Cabramatta International Nines in Sydney this weekend. Picture: Allan Reinikka

Rocky’s Rickertt part of rugby league first

RUGBY LEAGUE: Rockhampton’s Meagan Rickertt will forge her own piece of sporting history this weekend.

The 32-year-old will contest the 2020 Cabramatta International Nines with the Philippines Sampaguitas, the first Asian women’s team to play in an international rugby league event.

Twenty-six men’s and six women’s teams will compete at the open age tournament, representing clubs and countries from Europe, Asia, South America and the Pacific Islands.

Rickertt will represent the island country for a second time after playing for them at the Oztag World Cup in 2018.

She qualifies for selection courtesy of her mother, who was born in the Philippines.

“It’s pretty rare to get this sort of opportunity so I’m really keen to take it on,” Rickertt said.

“It will be about the playing experience, more than anything.

“I’m still learning and that’s why I am so excited about going to Sydney because I will definitely be learning things down there.”

Rickertt heads to Sydney today and will train with her teammates tomorrow and Friday before the day-long competition on Saturday.

The hard-working forward is ready to take her game to next level, playing alongside the likes of Tammy Fletcher, who will captain the Sampaguitas.

Meagan Rickertt makes a barnstorming run for Rockhampton Brothers in the local league competition. Picture: Contributed
Meagan Rickertt makes a barnstorming run for Rockhampton Brothers in the local league competition. Picture: Contributed

Rickertt is fast establishing herself as a force in league.

She had a short initiation into the game in high school but found her way back to it in 2016, playing with Rockhampton Brothers in the local nines competition.

In the interim she enjoyed a successful AFL career, winning five straight Capricornia AFL flags with the Glenmore Bullettes.

Rickertt decided to focus on league and has played the past three seasons with Brothers, winning the premiership with them last year.

“Once I started playing rugby league it was something new again and it got me excited to play,” she said.

“I also did my ACL playing AFL in 2017 so I think I felt more confident playing league.”

Rickertt is now keen to follow the pathways being created in women’s rugby league.

She said the achievements of players such as Tamika Upton, who went from playing with the Yeppoon Seagulls to winning an NRLW premiership with the Brisbane Broncos, were a great motivator for local talent.

“That gives girls in CQ the belief that they can go further. It makes you more focused and gives you something to work towards,” she said.

Rickertt appreciates that this weekend’s competition could well open more doors and she plans to grab the opportunity with both hands.

She wants to enjoy every aspect of the international event - and there’s another bonus.

“I’ve found out that one of the girl’s aunts is making Filipino food for the entire weekend so I’m really excited for that,” she said.