Newcastle Knights cheerleader Tayla Doran has been crowned the Mary Holland Cheerleader of the Year after outperforming dozens of cheerleaders from around the country.
The 20-year-old, who is in her fourth season as a member of the Knights cheer squad, said she was surprised to get through the first round of the competition let alone to take out the top honour.
“I was very excited when I got the phone call, I called Mum straight away and told everyone," she said.
The competition kicked off with two members from each NRL team’s cheer squad in contention for the title.
From a field of 32, Tayla progressed through each round to be voted by the fans as the league’s top cheerleader.
The energetic dancer has taken it one step further than her older sister Brittany who made it to the quarter finals of the competition in 2012.
But Tayla denies there was ever any rivalry between the pair, in fact it was Brittany who convinced her younger sister to give cheerleading a crack.
“She was stoked that I won, she just wanted a Knights girl to win,” Tayla said.
As the winner of the annual competition, Tayla is in good company, with 2004 Miss Universe winner Jennifer Hawkins receiving the very same honour in 2001.
“It’s pretty crazy actually to think she had won it 13 years ago,” Tayla said.
What Tayla loves most about cheering for the Knights is she is close to the sport she’s so passionate about.
"I love the sport so much, so I just love sitting on the benches and having the best seats in the place and seeing so many fans coming from all over to support Newcastle.
“It’s been amazing to see the amount of fans coming up to me and congratulating me on how far I’ve gotten.
“They’ve told me they’ve voted so many times so it’s been amazing to see how many people have been behind me this year.”
“I’d like to thank all the Knights fans for getting behind me and voting, it’s been an amazing journey, I’m so thankful."