Parkes product and Dragons second-rower Talesha Quinn is well known for being a passionate advocate of rugby league, particularly when it comes to women.
And she’s hoping the NRL's Road to Region initiative that is currently under way will stimulate the growth of the new women's rugby league competition in her home region the Central West, which begins Saturday.
Quinn – along with Roosters prop Ruan Sims, Dragons centre Euan Aitken and Panthers prop Tim Grant – are representing the NRLW and the NRL in a visit to the regional towns of Coolah, Dunedoo and Wellington.
Quinn will be in Wellington on Friday.
Quinn told NRL.com she knows the influence NRL stars from the Central West like Josh Jackson, Andrew Ryan, Tyrone Peachey and Jesse Ramien still have on local competitions.
The 29-year-old said she hopes women from the Central West who love rugby league can help build a strong regional women's competition, that in turn could lead to a pathway to the NRLW.
“There is so much undiscovered female talent out in the country,” Quinn told NRL.com.
“Growing up in Parkes we were always at footy on the weekend but for the girls we could only play touch football or netball.
“The women's league tag competition is growing each year out there but to have a women's rugby league competition starting is going to be amazing and it will grow the game so much.”
The Road to Regions initiative is being hosted across eight locations in NSW and Queensland and aims to support and empower rugby league communities, with past and present players taking part in educational programs at schools, visits to junior rugby league clubs and attending fundraising events.
Quinn, who is still in rehab due to a reoccurring knee injury, said delivering messages around mental and physical well-being was a crucial aspect of the trip.
“As well as encouraging kids to play rugby league it is also vital that we are having conversations around our mental and physical health,” she said.
“After having surgery on my left knee last year in July and then re-injuring it eight weeks later when I played in the NRLW, I've really had to look after my mental health while also staying on top of my physical recovery.”