To celebrate Women In League Week, Beyond the Mark is sharing different perspectives of women involved in rugby league. Madison Bartlett recently made the Kiwi Ferns, represents the Akarana Falcons and Richmond Rovers.
How did you get involved in rugby league?
Basically I was playing a lot of other sports with friends that had already started playing league…they told me to come down to a training and try it out – I have never looked back since. Although it was tough to get used to the contact at first (it still is now) but I love it! When I first told my parents I was playing they laughed, however now they’re at every game supporting 🙂
What advice would you give to women trying to make the Kiwi Ferns?
Talent only gets you so far, you have to put in the work and the extras that nobody else can see. It’s the same as any sport really, you have to be willing to do the work because sooner or later there’s going to be people that come along who may not be as good as you (YET) but they’re willing to work 10x harder than you are. It’s all about being honest with yourself. Always look for ways to improve your game, whether that’s asking and talking to coaches or other people in your position, even just watching more footy. Also enjoy the game, because if you aren’t enjoying it, why play?
Biggest lesson learnt in rugby league?
Never give up, if you don’t make it the first time just get back up, train harder and try again.
My mum reminded me the day before going into camp for the ANZAC test that 6 months earlier I nearly gave up! I felt like i had tried so hard and done everything I could but still wasn’t good enough. But after rethinking, it made me hungrier and ready to train harder to prove I was good enough.
It’s also taught me a lot about myself, patience and resilience – having to overcome two major injuries was hard and it can make you really depressed at times. I shattered my ankle 3 years ago at nationals and that took about eight months to recover, at the latest nationals five weeks ago i broke my collarbone.
It can be really tough, especially for myself as i enjoy training and am always pushing to be a better player. The set backs can be tough physically but also mentally.
What is the best thing about playing rugby league?
It’s very challenging but most of all I get to do something i enjoy alongside some of my best friends. It also allows me to go overseas and hopefully i’ll get the opportunity to do that many more times. The women’s game isn’t getting any smaller and I hope one day there is something like the NRL for women and i’ll get to be apart of that.
What do you enjoy outside of rugby league?
Outside of league i’m your typical girl – I LOVE shopping, I like getting my nails done, catching up with friends for coffee and lunch, and attending as many music concerts/ festivals as possible. In summer I also play tag!