Dubbo's very own Taneka Todhunter is full embracing her new challenge after being named in the Parramatta Eels NRLW squad.
Todhunter hasa been named one of the Eels' four development players for the season, the next step in her journey towards an NRLW berth.
Having moved down to Sydney a few years ago, Todhunter is still pinching herself to be in this situation so soon.
"It's been a long journey, I've been down here for three years now," she said.
"It's gone very quick but."
Rewarded for her performances for with the North Sydney Bears in the NSW Women's Premiership, Todhunter has found herself at home playing hooker in the season just gone.
In her first NRLW pre-season, Todhunter admitted she is enjoying the idea of challenging herself daily.
"We are in week six of pre-season and honestly I've learnt so much in this short time," she said.
"It's also been very difficult at times as well."
Rubbing shoulders with international stars at training can be daunting for a young player looking to make her way in the game.
But for Todhunter, she confessed the big-name players at Parramatta have been nothing but great.
"They are amazing, they are so welcoming," she said.
"If I need help with anything I can just turn to them and ask 'how would you do this' or 'how should I do this'.
"They are very helpful."
After launching in 2018, the NRLW competition will expand this season, with four clubs joining in 2023, moving the overall number of sides to 10.
One massive issue plaguing female players is the fact players are contracted to their respective clubs for 20 weeks, with two of those being annual leave.
While she is fresh into the elite system, Todhunter believes it is a tough test she is already experiencing.
"It's definitely hard as well because we aren't full-time athletes," she said.
"We are training like full-time athletes whilst trying to maintain jobs, I feel like that's one of the biggest things which makes it most difficult."
A proud Indigenous woman, Todhunter is currently being mentored by Dean Widders, one of the games best and also a man who is passionate about his culture.
"It's honestly great, it's great to be coached by an Indigenous man," Todhunter said of Widders.
"We also have a lot of Indigenous girls in the team as well, it's nice to have that sense of community in the team."
While it looks unlikely Todhunter will get any game time this NRLW season, it won't stop her from competing everyday at training and she's got a big goal in mind.
"Just to train hard," she said.
"One of my goals is to make the Indigenous All-Stars side at the end of the year and hopefully get a run with a side next year."
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