There'll be plenty of talent running around in Thursday night's Women's City-Country clash, but keen eyes could do worse than taking a look at Illawarra wrecking ball Viena Tinao.
A powerhouse for the Steelers this season, Tinao has overcome a number of injury setbacks since bursting on the scene for Illawarra in the Lisa Fiaola Cup three seasons ago.
It's been a steady path back to full fitness, but Tinao emerged as one of the premier middles in the NSW Women's Premiership, becoming the linchpin of a Steelers pack that fell just one game short of a grand final.
While her late-season form was enough to earn a call-up to Ruan Sims' Country side, the Wollongong product will be one of the few running around without an NRLW deal.
It's baffling for Steelers coach, and Country assistant coach, Alicia-Kate Hawke, who's confident the 20-year-old can put herself on the radar with a strong performance in elite company.
"I can't believe no one's picked her up yet," Hawke said.
"I think that she will put herself on the radar. The main thing is just playing her style of football, getting the team going forward with that momentum, not worrying too much about what's going on around her, and just playing her strong power game.
"I think people can underestimate her ball-playing skills, we used to have her as a bit of a ball-playing lock and now she generally plays in the middle. She brings those strong carries and bumps people off quite easy, but also has that little finesse and pure ball playing.
"I'm surprised that she hasn't been picked up by any NRLW clubs because she's definitely someone that's worth having in your squad to bring massive impact and help the team go forward. She did that for [the Steelers], that's for sure.
"We definitely needed some size and some power which she brought to us and, as she got further into the season, she could punch out more and more minutes and metres for us. Hopefully this will be that little bit of a carrot for her and for everyone else to see what she can do."
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The maiden rep call-up is somewhat belated after suffering two major knee injuries after first turning heads as a junior in the Steelers system .
It could easily have been enough for her to fall through the cracks, but Hawke feels a Country jumper is recognition of her efforts long before this season.
"She was doing really well in her early Lisa Fiaola-Tarsha Gale days and she looked pretty set to be in that first ever NSW under 18's team (in 2019) but she did her knee so that took her out," Hawke said.
"We were gutted for her the first time because that was a peak opportunity for her, she would have definitely been a part of that side. She ended up having that next year off and then she came back and she did her knee again so she's been really unlucky to cop two pretty crucial knee injuries that have taken her out of footy for a long time at some key moments for her.
"These girls are doing rehab outside the high performance systems without the support and access to physios or specialists or anything like that, so she's done a lot of that on her own.
"She's been building and it was really exciting to get her back in for the Steelers this year and back playing with the crew again.
"For her to get the call up for Country is a really good reward, not only just off this year for her, but something she probably deserved even a few years ago before her injuries. She's definitely one to keep an eye on."
Tinao will be one of five Steelers in action for Country, with Kezie Apps, Teagan Berry, Keele Browne and Kaarla Cowan all part of Sims' side, the latter having previously featured in the match in a City jumper.
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