Georgia Roche doesn't want to hear the word 'sacrifice' used when it comes to her move from West Yorkshire to Newcastle.
The first Englishwoman to win the NRLW premiership, Roche said her decision to play rugby league in Australia was an opportunity and a choice, and one she's glad she made after helping the Knights secure back-to-back titles.
The 2018 Super League Woman of Steel knows that leaving her family and life at home was a big move but playing rugby league in Australia was a chance to inspire the next generation of English stars.
“People talk about sacrifices but for me it wasn’t a sacrifice, it was a choice and an opportunity,” Roche told NRL.com.
“Moving over to Australia, I knew what was in making that decision and it was my decision.
“The reason why I made the next step, it's all about inspiring the next generation for them to follow the pathway and to show that the sky is the limit.
“So to all the young girls back home, if you’ve got a dream, chase it and it can pay off.”
If you ask Roche’s mum Charlotte, however, letting her “baby” move across the world to pursue her rugby league dream was the biggest sacrifice of all.
And after waking up at all hours of the morning to watch the 23-year old help the Knights qualify for a second straight grand final, family members began packing their bags for Australia to see Roche take the grand final stage on Sunday.
“We flew in Friday morning, I wasn’t going to miss this for the world. It just had to be done,” Charlotte told NRL.com following the Knight’s 24-18 win over the Titans.
“We’ve watched every game back at home, we've got up at two o'clock, three o'clock, five o'clock but we haven’t missed a second.
“It was a big step for her leaving home and it’s been horrendous for me. She's just gone 23 and she’s my baby but she’s smashed it.
“I knew when I heard what they were offering her then she had to do it because the club was making a commitment to her and believed in her and that was really important for me.
“How many people can say they've moved countries and in the first season are minor premiers and won a grand final. I’m just so proud.”
Georgia Roche Try
Charlotte said she felt like a fan, watching the Knights open training before heading down to Sydney to witness her daughter make NRLW history, but it was a special moment to see Georgia looking so at home in the Hunter.
“I asked Georgia when she was in high school what she wanted to be and she said ‘a professional rugby league player, but I want to play in Australia’ and I told her that wasn’t achievable and you need a proper job,” Charlotte recalled.
"Well she's proved me wrong. I didn’t have any words when I got to hug her after the game. I saw her at the meet and greet fans day on Friday but that’s it.
“She just looks so at home and so relaxed and happy.”
Knights strong in defence
Contracted to the Knights for the next four seasons, Roche’s record deal came as the equal-longest contract in the competition, alongside teammate Tamika Upton, while Jesse and Hannah Southwell have contract options for 2026 and 2027.
The English international said the security of the deal helped convince her family that Newcastle’s offer was too good an opportunity to refuse.
"That security was really important for me and I knew that some of the other girls here were already signed for five years and I think when you’re playing with players that are around for a long period of time, they'll also put the work in and give back what you give to them,” she said.
“Yeah it was hard but when you want to chase a dream you kind of put that first and my family are very supportive of that.
“So they put fact that they were going to miss me and all those things at the back of their mind to support me.
"I know I have a lot more to give and I can't wait to keep making them proud."
Roche is due to head back to England at the end of the month to join the Lioness squad set to face Wales on November 4 before returning to Newcastle to prepare for the 2024 season.