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St George Illawarra star Emma Tonegato got out of bed on Monday morning and unlike previous years in a full-time rugby sevens environment, the occupational therapist was off to work.

Tonegato, who impressed in her return to rugby league in round one of the NRLW on Sunday, continues to adapt to the part-time environment after quitting the rugby sevens program last year.

It didn't seem to affect her performance first game back, however, with the Dragons fullback instrumental with a try assist, six tackle busts and over 170 metres recorded for her side.

"It was great to be out there again, I was trying to stay calm and relaxed but once we got through a few sets it felt good to get a first-hit out done," Tonegato told NRL.com.

Tonegato gets chased down by a determined Titans outfit

"It's been a bit of a challenge to adjust back [to a part-time environment].

"I'm absolutely loving my job but it's difficult. You want to put in the extra miles and be professional but in the same respect you can't and you're not getting paid as well either.

"You're rushing to training and work but that's the way it is at the moment. Hopefully, we can all put in this season and one day it can be more professional.

"You could see after the game and in the sheds how much it means to everyone to be here."

Former Australian rugby sevens teammates Emma Tonegato and Evania Pelite embrace after the game on Sunday.
Former Australian rugby sevens teammates Emma Tonegato and Evania Pelite embrace after the game on Sunday. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

Among the highlights on Sunday included Tonegato's first-up battle with former Australian sevens teammate Evania Pelite with the pair trading line-breaks and try-savers against each other.

"It didn't really feel like a one on one battle out there but it was nice to see her and catch up, I haven't seen her in a really long time," Tonegato said.

"We're always going to be competitive with each other. It's great to see her in the NRLW again and enjoying her footy."

With one game under her belt, Tonegato will turn her attention to the side's clash with Parramatta at WIN Stadium on Sunday.

Anything further than that, like a possible State of Origin or World Cup call-up, isn't yet on the radar.

"I'm just happy to be back playing, I don't know what the future holds but I want to play as much footy as I can and juggle it all," she said.

"This is the starting point for me and the team. It's so hard when we haven't had a trial so I thought we did a great job considering most of us have never played together.

Tonegato denied by the Titans

"And it will be awesome to get to play at home, I don't think the girls have had a home game before.

"It will be nice to play around the corner and about 10 minutes from where my parents live."

 

Be there at WIN Stadium on Sunday for round two of the NRL Telstra Women's Premiership. Ticket prices start at just $12 for adults, and juniors under 15 can redeem a free general admission ticket with any paying adult. Visit nrl.com/tickets

Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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