North Queensland Toyota Gold Stars captain Romy Teitzel has become the Cowboys’ first female community ambassador, joining former Cowboys greats as a role model to positively influence the next generation.
A true-blue North Queensland product and inaugural BHP Premiership Player of the Year, Romy has begun delivering club community programs to schools, sharing her own stories of success and resilience and encouraging students to work hard at school and chase their dreams.
Born in Mission Beach, growing up in Cardwell and attending Tully State High, it wasn’t until the age of 15 that Romy admits she “fell into” rugby league, despite being the daughter of Craig Teitzel who played 12 games for the Cowboys during the club’s inaugural season.
Times have changed since those early days, when Romy found herself with no clear pathway to forge a career in the game, and she’s relishing the privilege of fostering dreams of the future for students across North Queensland.
“It’s important to go to school, have a career after school as well as be an athlete, so something good that I can share is that I’m at uni getting a degree, and that I’m also able to play professional sport,” she said.
“I'm working in the Try for 5! program spreading the message of school attendance and that it's important to have a career after school, but also that women have different opportunities and now professional sport is definitely a pathway.
“It's fairly cliché, but we're paving the pathway for girls and it's an opportunity I didn't have when I was younger that they do now.”
Romy has already visited Gulf communities including Weipa and Mapoon as part of the North Queensland Bulk Ports Blitz, and more recently Heatley State School and Garbutt State School for the Try for 5! program.
In the new year, her commitment to community work will align closely with her commitments as a Gold Star and NRLW player.
School visits from Cowboys personalities like Romy help to spread positive messages about the importance of school, drive education-based outcomes for young North Queenslanders and create a tangible, meaningful connection between the club and community.
A trailblazer in the female sporting world, Romy is hoping the message will hit home when the students connecting with her in person turn on the TV and see her put words into action.
It’s exactly what she experienced when the Cowboys visited Tully when she was a teen, and what she is now tasked with as a player ambassador.
“Tully is a huge rugby league community and very rugby league orientated, so that’s probably the major support throughout the community,” Romy said.
“Whenever somebody like the Cowboys came it was definitely a huge drive and the kids were stoked no matter who it was or what was going on.
“I was always interested (in rugby league), and it was around me 24/7 like most kids so absolutely it was a huge part of our life and lifestyle, and I would go to training with Dad, he’d be coaching the younger teams, but I never thought it was a pathway for a girl.
“It's all about getting out there, promoting that and letting them know they do have that option and to aim for something really high, no matter what that is.”