After being named last month to be a part of this year’s Indigenous All Stars team, Shaniah Power looks to be picking up where she left off in 2019.
It has been an amazing 12 months for the North Queensland-based Power, and all signs point to 2020 being an even bigger year for the young talent.
“I have been saying to people that last year and leading into the start this year was just the biggest spin out,” Power said.
“I just went in to play with friends, and it’s led into all these different pathways that I didn’t think would open up to me.
“I just made the Indigenous All Stars side, this Queensland camp, and the start up of the (North Queensland) Gold Stars and the QRLW competition, those were huge moments for me.”
While last season was a ground-breaking one for Power, she has been steadily building a name for herself since she began playing at the urging of a friend.
Her friends and her family are a huge support to her and encourage her every step of the way, but Power, who was born and raised in Bowen, still has a little bit of work to do to make her mum feel more comfortable about her “little girl” taking up the sport.
“Two of my older brothers grew up playing football, so it was always something I wanted to give a go and people had always encouraged me, but mum never wanted me to play,” Power said.
"(When I started) my brother’s now wife said, ‘just come down to a training session’, so I said to mum ‘it’s just a training session, it’s nothing serious’ and then I kept going and kept going.
“I played my first of rugby league in Mackay and then I made the North Queensland Marlins side and playing alongside Jenni-Sue (Hoepper), Karyn Murphy, Renae Kunst and another ex-Jillaroo Tash Baggow, so that was a huge thing for me, and not anything I was expecting and that’s how I started playing.
“I love team sports and just the contact, the physical side of it is just a lot of fun.”
With a fledgling competition building in Townsville, Power is thankful for everything her local club the Western Lions has done for her so far.
“There’s a good family environment there and I enjoy going to trainings,” Power said.
“My local coach, Josh Stowers, even though we were just a team starting up last year, he took us very seriously, he took a lot of time and effort into training us and looking after us.
“And this year, he’s president of our club as well, he’s paying a lot of attention to us, he’s paying attention to all of us, from A Grade to juniors.”
Selected late last year to feature in the Queensland Female Performance Program squad, Power has plenty of players to look up to who can help her as she strives to improve her game, including the experienced Steph Hancock and fellow North Queensland and Indigenous All Stars talent Hoepper.
“I enjoyed meeting Steph Hancock, she’s super funny, it’s just ridiculous,” Power said of her first meeting in camp last December.
“(Another) big inspiration on the field is Jenni-Sue, she’s just this lovely humble and quietly talented person that I really respect and look up to.”