During this week’s ‘Getting to Know’ we have caught up with Trinity youngster and new recruit, Becky Grady, as she embarks on her first season in Red, White & Blue.
Despite her time away from the game due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the scrum-half has really enjoyed a fairly successful start to the year. After signing for Trinity at the start of 2020, an England Students call-up was on the horizon, however, and as she turns her focus towards the start of the campaign, she admits that it will be a “great honour” to pull on the Trinity strip for the very first time.
Firstly, how are you keeping busy during the lockdown?
It has been a little bit odd, as I am currently in my first year of University and have had all my exams cancelled. So, after finishing at Leeds a few weeks ago, I have been busy keeping fit, but other than that, not much.
How do you find the time to balance University and Rugby League simultaneously?
It was quite tricky this year just gone, as it was my first year at Leeds. I then started playing for the University team and was picked for Wakefield as well, so I was training about four times a week, whilst trying to study and have a social life at the same time, which can be quite hard. However, it isn’t too bad and I have managed my pass my first year, which I will take.
I have been hearing about Zoom training sessions the ladies have been taking part in – what sort of effect do these sessions have on the team’s morale?
They are really good! Martin and Graham [Law] have been doing some great sessions. We normally do them on Monday and Wednesday evenings and they offer a great way of keeping in contact with our team-mates.
As a fresh recruit for 2020 – how are you settling in at Wakefield? And has there been any particular player who has taken you under their wing?
It has been amazing! For the first few sessions the girls have been really lovely and the captain, Dani Swaine, especially, has been very welcoming and always keeps checking up on people, making sure they are fine and keeping fit. Maddie Hirst has also been great, setting us little challenges throughout the week, making sure that people are kept fit, active and in-contact throughout this time.
Going right back to the start – how did you get into the game of Rugby League?
I started back in Primary School when we got a visit the Leeds Rhinos mascot, Ronnie the Rhino, offering us all free tickets for a Leeds game at Headingley. So, after we had been, I decided that I wanted to get involved in the game. My Dad rang up East Leeds and I ended up playing for the boys for two years under Mal Leary – who is an amazing coach. Despite it being inclusive, when I reached Secondary School, I was unable to play with the boys team anymore and, unfortunately, no girls sides were in my area. So, I started playing football and, even though I didn’t like it as much as Rugby, it was a good filler at that time. However, luck would have it that my Dad saw an advert for an East Leeds girls team on Twitter, so I joined them when I was 13 or 14, playing right up until I reached the open age levels.
Was there any particular player that inspired you as you rose through the ranks?
It has to be Rob Burrow! He played in my position and I always admired the way he played, as his speed and foot-work was insane. I also looked up to him because of his height, I am quite a small player, myself, so to have an idol of mine show that it isn’t all about your size was incredible and I always looked up to him when I was younger.
What sort of role has your family made on your career? Are they big Rugby League supporters?
We didn’t used to be, but when I started playing, the whole family started to get into the game. My Dad has always bought us Rhinos season tickets from when I was about 11 years old and he comes along to all my games, as well as my Mum and Sister, who are both really supportive. Taking me to training and games, week on week, I really couldn’t have reached this point in my career without them, so they have been great!
You started at Castleford – how did the whole scouting process come about? And what were your initial feelings when you had signed for a professional Rugby League side?
I just went along to trials for the Under-19s team at Castleford, which gave me my first taste of professional rugby. Then, for Wakefield, I saw an advertisement on Facebook that the club was offering trials and my coach at Leeds Beckett, Conor Mease, persuaded me to go along. Fortunately enough, I really enjoyed it and was lucky enough to get signed.
You made your debut for the Tigers in a 46-20 victory over Featherstone last June – what was running through your mind as you stepped out onto the field for the very first time?
I was quite relieved as I got to start the game on the bench, so I could see what was going on before I went onto the field. Then, at the start of the second half, I was put onto the right-wing. But, overall, it was an amazing experience to play alongside some top professionals and to hear the crowd singing and clapping at the end rounded off an amazing experience.
You christened your opening game at Castleford with a try – How much of a relief was this? And did it instill you with confidence knowing that you can perform at the top level?
It was such an amazing experience and with it coming in the last few minutes, it made it even better. It came at a time where I was playing out on the wing, which is a bit different for me, however, it increased my confidence, made me hungry and instilled the belief that I could make it at the top level and, luckily, Wakefield has allowed me to do that.
Your performances with Castleford and Leeds Beckett University led to you getting a call-up for the England Student Women’s team in February – how did this come about? And was it a dream come true in your eyes?
My coaches at Leeds University were the same as the England Student Women’s had at the time, so a few of the girls at University went along to the trials at the Rhinos training ground in Kirkstall. Looking back, it was a great experience as there were so many talented players involved and to be selected was an incredible feeling. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, we haven’t had the chance to have any games yet and we have missed quite a few training sessions as well but, hopefully, we will manage to get some games in next year.
After a year with Castleford, you signed for Wakefield at the start of 2020 – what were your feelings surrounding the move?
I really wanted to push myself and see if I could make it playing for a Super League club. Trinity have got such a fantastic set-up, which became evident during the trial phase. So, overall, I just wanted to have a go at playing for a side in the top-level, as last season I was playing my trade in League One and, even though it was a great standard, I wanted to see if I could push myself even further.
Due to COVID-19, you have been unable to play in a competitive match for the club – how much are you looking forward to stepping out at Belle Vue for the very first time?
I am really excited! I can’t wait to play alongside the girls and just to wear the shirt, it would be a great honour and for it to be at Belle Vue as well will make it even better.
The ladies side undertook a tough first season in the Women’s Super League – what do you believe you can offer moving forward?
I am hoping to play as many games as possible and hopefully provide a stable core to the team. Last year, it was talked about how missed some key roles within the team and I would love to be able to fill one of them. Also, I would like to show some organisation in the middle, which is what I like to do, and also a bit of speed, which is one of my main attributes.
As you are only young, you have your whole career ahead of you – on a personal level, what are your aims and expectations for the forthcoming years?
I would like to play in Super League for as long as possible and also play for England Students and see where that leads. The main aim for any Rugby League player would be to get an international call-up and that would be amazing, but I just want to see how this season goes and play it by here, really.