Angelina Teakaraanga-Katoa only had one NRLW game to her name when she signed up to join the Dragons this season, but with the club having undergone the NRLW's biggest squad overhaul with only five players returning from last year's campaign, she was one of the more experienced in the team.
Last week, that experience came to the fore as Auckland-born Teakaraanga-Katoa stepped up against the North Queensland Cowboys, running for 206 metres from 14 hit ups to help the Dragons record a vital win which kept them in touch with the top four.
“(The win) was really important … it was a whole confidence boost. Coming off the back of a loss with the field goal last week, we really needed that,” Teakaraanga-Katoa, who played for the Bulldogs in the Harvey Norman NSW Women's Premiership earlier this year, said after the match.
“(We have been) that close and it's just about finishing off games. By winning by that much (today), it shows that if we do start well, we can really seal it off.”
The Dragons will need to step it up a notch tomorrow night when the take on the Sharks in their first ever local derby match and Teakaraanga-Katoa, who has been named to start after coming off the bench last round, will again be key, with the side likely to be missing Alexis Tauaneai.
Match: Sharks v Dragons
Round 8 -
Venue: PointsBet Stadium, Sydney
Despite being named in the run-on side, the impressive young forward faces an uphill battle to play according to the club, with the 18-year-old leaving the field with a lower leg injury as a result of a hip drop tackle last week.
“I think with Alexis coming off in the first half, we wanted to do it for her because she wasn't coming back on and she always gives 110 percent every game,” Teakaraanga-Katoa said of what inspired her performance last week.
“Her run metres are out of this world, so I just tried to do it for her.
“I am going to have to keep some consistency with it, so to back it up (this) week against the Sharks, it's something I'm going to try to do.”
On what she focuses on to improve her own game, the former Rooster said she was aiming to do her role for the team well and keep things simple, while also showing leadership through her actions.
“I'm just thinking I just need to be a powerful forward and not overthink my position; to stay in my lane and run hard and tackle,” Teakaraanga-Katoa said.
“I just want to keep it simple, and I think that's the main focus of my game.
“It's different only having one debut game and being seen as a leader, because there was a lot of new girls (this year), but that's something that Sowie (coach Jamie Soward) entrusted with me to do a job with, so I take that very seriously.
“Now, to be playing every game here, I am enjoying it, it’s good.”