4 January, 2018. By Oliver Jacques. If ever there was an example of someone not letting age or life barriers stop them from achieving their dreams, it would be Griffith’s Retta Leao-Seve.
The 30-year-old single mum – denied for so long from playing the sport she loved because she was a girl – has been selected to represent Samoa at Commonwealth Nines League Championship, a lead up event for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“There was so much talent at the selection trial, and they were all younger than me, but I got picked.” Retta said.
Retta was among more than 100 players of Samoan origin who registered for a selection trial in Sydney last month, and was judged to be among the top 15.
“When the phone rang the other day, I saw it was a New Zealand number, and got really excited. I was barely awake and couldn’t believe it”.
Retta will be joined by bestie and sister-in-law Cecilia Smith, 23, who is known as a female version of Samoan legend Brian “The Chiropractor” Lima.
“A few players I’ve hit have been stretchered off,” Cecilia said.
Retta is also renowned for her big hitting, but for a long time denied the pleasure of putting opponents on their backside.
“When we turned 13, we couldn’t play rugby league at school anymore because we were girls… it’s only recently we got back into it”.
For the past few years, Retta has balanced training two hours a day with raising two boys, aged 11 and 6, and working at Baiada.
“I have to thank my club Yenda all-stars and Baiada for helping me out”.
Retta also said her mother, who died a few years ago, provided her with the inspiration to reach her goals.
“What I have achieved is for her”.
Cecilia is just as excited about what’s coming up for the dynamic duo.
“We’re just waiting to see what sort of training we’ll be doing (in the lead up),” she said.
“It’s going to be a great experience for us.
“Sport is in my family’s blood, so I’m just happy I can make them proud.
“My dad is really excited.”
Ten Commonwealth nations will contest the rugby league nines competition at Redcliffe’s revamped 10,000-seat Dolphins Stadium on February 23 and 24 next year.
The competition is being staged in the lead-up to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
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