Ahead of the nib Newcastle Knights introduction to the NRL Telstra Women's Premiership, we sat down with the squad members who are creating history in the red and blue.
We caught up with Kiwi Ferns speedster, Katelyn Vaha'akolo, to get to know her a little better.
Vaha'akolo has an impressive social media presence with over 200,000 followers on Instagram and Tiktok while she also made an incredible debut for New Zealand only very early into her rugby league journey.
Name: Katelyn Vaha'akolo
Position/s: I act like I can play lock, but really I’m a winger.
Junior Club: Don’t have one, only started playing a couple years ago.
You’re journey in the game? Where have you played before?
Joined Te Atatu Roosters Women's in 2020 in Auckland, Aotearoa. Made it to Akarana Falcons and then played for the New Zealand Kiwi Ferns in 2020 in the Test match against Samoa.
How excited are you to be a part of the first ever NRLW side for the Newcastle Knights?
I’m stoked and honoured to be a part of this team. The connection we have off the field makes this experience so much more exciting and special too! I’ve made some lifelong friends.
What’s your hopes and expectations for the season ahead?
To grow in the game and be the best athlete I can be, putting 100% effort into everything I do, a consistent willingness to learn and having good and positive self talk. Also to become an advocate of encouragement for young female athletes who have big goals in their sport and to be a constant reminder for others that no dream is too big.
What are you most looking forward to for the season?
Representing not only my team, but my whānau and culture back home!
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.
The Subtle Art by Mark Manson.
Best piece of advice you’ve received?
Learn when to say no and how you react and respond to things is a reflection of who you are as a person.
Favourite team outside of the NRL or NRLW?
The JPATHLETIC Huskies NZ Touch Team.
The amount of training we do yet I still don’t have abs or,
Where did you grow up?
Tāmaki Makarau, Aotearoa.
Who is most important to you?
Greatest on-field moment?
Doing the haka for my first international campaign in front of my family!
Greatest off-field achievement?
Learning how to speak my native tongue (Te Reo Māori).
Any sporting heroes?
My Dad and my brother, Freedom. Their love for sport was an example for me and a big reason why I want to become a professional athlete. Petu Maliepo. She’s a New Zealand rugby union player. Her ambition and drive as an athlete has impacted me heaps to put in more effort with my journey to the NRLW. Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce and Sydney McLaughlin. They’re track athletes for Jamaica and USA but their work ethic inspires me so much!