When Matt Harrington took his family to watch the NRL Nines in Perth in February, he was so moved by the effect one player had on his 11-year-old daughter Sarah he figured she deserved to be recognised.
Keely Davis, who has played for the Jillaroos, St George Illawarra Dragons in the NRLW and Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership, has been nominated as a Wonder Woman to help celebrate the NRL’s Women in League round after presenting Sarah with her championship medal.
"My daughter and I went to see the Nines and were there barracking and cheering the whole time for the girls,” Harrington said.
“We waited after the game outside for the boys and girls teams to come out and my daughter was standing at the fence and as soon as Keeley came up she took her medallion off that she’d just won and put it round her shoulders and got a photo - you couldn’t have put a bigger smile on my daughter’s face.
“It might only be a small gesture to Keeley but in Sarah’s eyes it meant the world.”
Keeley and Sarah’s story didn’t end there however, with the 20-year-old dummy half sending messages of motivation to Sarah via Matt on Instagram.
“She’s just been really open to private messages on Instagram and because my daughter doesn’t have an Instagram account yet she asks me and then I ask Keeley and she sent a message back so to get support like that from an NRLW star is a pretty massive thing,” Harrington said.
Sarah Harrington try
Sarah’s passion for the sport was ignited when the Harrington family were living in Sydney two years ago and she was the only girl playing Rugby League for her school. Since moving to Perth Sarah has started playing for the Willagee Bears.
"This year was the first time they could actually field a full girls team so all the girls have got together, they’re all going to go to the same school,” Harrington said.
“Keeley and Corban McGregor sent them a video message last week so that was a big hype up for them as well, they just thought that was awesome.
“We put it on up Facebook page for all the girls to see and they just thought that was absolutely amazing, it gave them that extra boost to go out there because they’re playing against boys that are pretty big.
“She’s been told that Rugby League is not a girls sport, her grandparents are telling her ‘You should do netball’ her other grandparents are saying ‘Swimming is a much better sport for a girl’ than Rugby League and she came up to me and said ‘Dad is that right?’ And I said ‘You do whatever you want to do’ so having someone like Keeley motivating her just makes all the difference.”