Georgia Wilson admits she didn’t really know what she was doing when she went for rugby league trials at Wigan four years ago.
On Saturday she lines up for England against France as best friends and rivals jostle for World Cup spots.
“We are friends but we are all fighting for the same shirts so need to perform both in camps and in the games as well,” she tells The Sportsman.
“We have full backs, wingers and centres all fighting for the same positions.
“These internationals are great for you to show what you can do before the World Cup."
The 25-year-old from Cumbria is the only Wigan representative in head coach Craig Richards’ England side, having developed from that nervous trialist into a versatile and dependable international.
Wilson was playing rugby union as a student at UCLAN when she discovered league and has not looked back.
Playing on the wing to give herself a chance to watch and learn the game as she played, she ended up a Grand Finalist in that debut Women’s Super League season in 2018, better still scoring a try as Wigan took the title by beating Leeds.
This year has seen Wilson at full-back and she has already hit double figures in tries, while also a dependable goal kicker. She was part of the England side who beat Wales 32-6 last weekend, a nation they thumped 60-0 a year ago - something Wilson suggests shows the women’s game is heading in the right direction.
“It was really nice to get out there with the girls and a great opportunity for us all to get together,” she tells The Sportsman, as they regroup ahead of this Saturday’s double-header alongside the men’s international at Warrington.
“It was a scrappy win but we had a few challenges with the ref and a few things didn’t go our way.
“Wales were a physical side and did better than last year and I think France will be the same, they are improving and developing like us and will come out and be a really physical side which is what we need for the World Cup.”
Wilson expects the blossoming health of the women’s game will be rewarded with a big turnout at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, with the men’s side facing a Combined Nations All Star team on the same day.
It is these occasions that are absolutely key to inspiring the next generation of stars to discover, enjoy and be inspired by rugby league.
“Hopefully the game will be in front of a big home support and our family and friends, but also young girls coming through at community clubs,” Wilson adds.
“We have been handing out tickets for those to come and get an experience of what it is like and hopefully they look up to us as role models and we can influence them to do the same in the future.”
The 24-strong England Women’s squad is made up of a massive 17 players from heavyweights St Helens and Leeds along with four from in-form York City Knights who lead the early Betfred Women’s Super League table having won their first three games.
They open their World Cup campaign against Brazil at Headingley on November 1st and also face Canada and Papua New Guinea in the group stage.
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