Taliah Fuimaono won't hear of any talk she's had to wait a long time to get the opportunity to play for NSW in the Women's State of Origin arena.
Sure injury robbed the Australian representative and Indigenous All Star of playing for the Sky Blues in 2022.
But 12 months later, with a rugby league World Cup under her belt, the 24-year-old is relishing the opportunity to play for the Sky Blues, with Game 1 to be played at CommBank Stadium on Thursday night.
"I hear that [NSW representation] has been a long-time coming quite often, but I guess it sort of seems like everything's happened really quickly for me in a short period of time," Fuimaono said.
"Even though I feel like I'm a bit older than a lot of the girls here now, it feels like a lot's happened in a short period of time."
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A broken collarbone kept the playmaker out of the NSW side last season but Fuimaono's great NRLW form while playing for the Dragons led to her being selected for the Jillaroos.
"Jillaroos was definitely something unexpected but Origin has been something that's been on my list for a very long time. I'm just really grateful to be here."
The classy five-eighth was also grateful the NSW side included some familiar faces, such as former Dragons and Steelers team-mates Rachael Pearson, Keeley Davis, Kezie Apps and Emma Tonegato.
"I've been very fortunate to play with most of these girls. It's made this experience a lot more fun and a little less nerve-wrecking I guess," she said.
"I can't wait to get out on the field.
"All the games I've watched in previous years have been really physical and the skill level is getting better and better each year.
"I think this year will be faster than it's ever been before. And I think both teams have similar packs. A bit smaller packs but definitely more mobile packs. That's why I think it is going to be a very fast and physical game."
NSW are the reigning champions, with Game 2 set for Townsville on June 22.
Fuimaono, who enjoyed a stellar NRLW campaign with the Dragons before hooking up with the Illawarra Steelers, will play the next NRLW season with the Gold Coast Titans.
She made the change to help her own development in the game.
"I had a really, really good time and I learnt so much off Sowie [Jamie Soward], it was just more like where I was going to be and a really good lifestyle opportunity for me," Fuimaono said.
"I was told I could make it my home and I didn't want to keep on changing clubs so ended up signing up there with a lot of my friends as well."
She added she especially enjoyed her time with the Steelers.
"We actually had a really, really good season. Unlucky I think, we sort of beat ourselves by the end of the season. We still probably didn't play to our potential but we had a really good young and energetic bunch. I really enjoyed my season with Steelers, I learnt a lot and enjoyed my time with that team."
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