She’s already achieved some remarkable things in the sport, but Dubbo’s Rikka Lamb-Lane is about to hit new heights.
The CYMS premiership-winning co-captain has been named in the South Sydney Rabbitohs squad for the 2018 Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership, and on Friday she will debut against the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.
The game is the curtain-raiser to the Rabbitohs-Bulldogs NRL clash, and Lamb-Lane couldn’t be more excited.
“I’ve already seen an improvement in myself at training, just being around a professional bunch of girls,” she said.
“It’s pretty exciting to be coached and trained by people that have been around the game for a long time.
“I didn’t realise until I came down here that it’s really technical, some of the training that they do. Learning the ins and outs of rugby league, it’s amazing to be around it all.”
Lamb-Lane is the only out-of-towner in the 26-woman squad, with the majority of players drawn from the 2017 premiership-winning Redfern All-Blacks side.
But there’s no doubt she has already made an impact – no surprise after a 2017 season that saw her tour Ireland in an Australian Oztag side.
For Souths, Lamb-Lane survived three weeks of trials, commuting from Dubbo each weekend, and impressed in a field of 60 women to make the final squad.
She has now relocated to Sydney, and will start on the bench on Friday for a side that thrashed Newcastle CRL 54-4 in the opening round.
Souths also boasts three Jillaroos: Nakia Welsh, Lavina O’Mealey and Maddison Studdon.
“They have a lot to share, they know a lot about the game so it’s inspiring for me to be around those girls … they’re great role models,” she said.
Lamb-Lane also had high praise for coach Daniel Allende, “a great mentor” who wanted to see all of his players succeed.
She thanked Souths for their support, saying it was a no-brainer to move to Sydney and already felt like home. But she admitted she was sad to leave CYMS.
“I’ll try to support the girls as much as I can … they’ve helped me so much so I just want to give back,” Lamb-Lane said.
“I can’t speak highly enough of [coaches] Chicka [Merritt] and Maddo [Shane Madden], they were really supportive. Obviously they would have wanted me to stay, but they knew that I wanted to succeed … and compete at the highest level possible.
“I’m always keen for new experiences, trying new things, meeting new people and footy is the way to go … I’m pretty excited to see where it takes me.”