This the Waterview Laundromat Local Q&A profiles newly-crowned Auckland Women’s Player of the Year, Alice Vailea, from the Richmond Bulldogs and New Zealand Warriors women. (Photo: photosport.nz via ARL).
This week you were named the best female player in Auckland. How did that feel?
I am just grateful to be recognised for the year that I have had. Having the people around me, my family, close friends, teammates and coaches and managers, they have really helped me to get here to receive this award.
Your game has gone to another level in 2018. What’s been the catalyst for that?
I had a tough start to the year from a personal point of view and I had a good think about what I wanted to do this year. I thought about league and what I wanted to do. I have in the past been one to just watch my friends do well while sitting back myself.
So I wrote some goals down, went to every training and always kept that goal in the back of my mind, hoping it would pay off. Today I can say that things are paying off for me.
What were those goals?
I wanted to get fitter and try and do whatever I do best, regardless of the position. It was about putting up my hand to take that role and hopefully do a good job.
You mention you’ve watched your friends go on to achieve things in the game, who are those friends who motivate you to keep going?
[Kiwi Ferns playmaker] Georgia Hale is one player who is always working hard, and her actions speak more than anything else. So watching her do her work really inspired me. All of my best friends have made it past a club or national level, so to watch them has encouraged me as well to hopefully join them on that field and play alongside each other hopefully.
You worse the No.7 jersey for most of 2018, but you don’t actually consider yourself a half?
I thought I was going into the season playing second row, and then I got chucked at halfback. It was tough at first. I am a forward now, not a half, I started as a half when I first got going in league at Bay Roskill, but I drifted into the forwards.
It’s slowly coming back to me now that I can play as a half!
You’ve been selected to be part of the inaugural New Zealand Warriors side for the NRL Women’s Premiership, how exciting is that?
I am just grateful to be part of that team. To be able to play here at home is extra special and to represent the Warriors in that first ever NRL women’s team is amazing. I am happy to be given the opportunity.