Brad Fittler has to take the blame for NSW's shock State of Origin series loss. When somebody takes responsibility for wins, they have to…
2022 has already been a huge year for Yasmin Clydsdale.
After being part of the Sydney Roosters team that won the 2021 Women’s NRL premiership in April, she then celebrated her marriage to former NRL player, Adam Clydsdale.
Now, she has a sky blue jersey as well following her inclusion in the NSW State of Origin team for the clash with Queensland this Friday night in Canberra.
Clydsdale lives in Scone. Despite Scone being over five hours away, not only will she have family and friends in the crowd, but also some of her students.
Clydsdale is a secondary PDHPE teacher at Scone Grammar School, and even though her students may not admit it openly, she knows how much they enjoy watching her play footy.
“I know that my students love that I play football and that they can look at the television screen and say ‘that’s my teacher’,” said Clydsdale.
“It’s not just that I play football at an elite level, it’s also demonstrating to my students that you can do whatever you set your mind to.
“I’ve had parents tell me that their child may not watch sport, but because I am their teacher that their child turns on the NRLW and tries to spot me on the screen.
“Little things like that are pretty amazing.”
The Blues squad has four debutantes and includes some of the most exciting players to feature in this year’s NRLW.
“It’s good to have new faces and freshen up the squad, but it also means that players are being selected based on who is the strongest player at the time,” said Clydsdale.
Women’s sport can be a very small place, and Clydsdale has certainly found this true in camp with two women included who she has known a very long time.
“I’ve played with Caitlin Johnson in Newcastle, so it’s been exciting to see her included in the squad,” said Clydsdale.
“I also played 7s with Emma Tonegato and she was an electric player back then, so seeing her excel in the NRLW and win the Dally M in her first season did not surprise me.
“State of Origin is my favourite game of the year because of its intensity; it is all about winning those little moments.
“Emma’s experience at the international level will certainly help the team and push us to win every single moment.”
Not only has she played alongside most of the women included in the squad, but Clydsdale has also played along her coach, Kylie Hilder, with the two women representing Australia in a Touch Football World Cup back in 2015.
At that point in her career, Hilder was Clydsdale’s captain, so she has had the opportunity to watch Hilder progress from captain to coach.
“She is so personable and really focused on making sure everyone is clear on what their role is and what the objective is so we are on the same page,” Clydsdale tells The Roar.
“It is so important to know your role in such an intense game.”
This year’s Women’s State of Origin will be the last series consisting of just one game.
Earlier this year, as part of the NRLW expansion announcement, the Australian Rugby League Commission decided that from 2023 onwards, the Women’s State of Origin would consist of two games.
This series will be part of an expanded 2023 women’s rugby league calendar, with the announcement just last week that another four teams (Wests Tigers, North Queensland Cowboys, Canberra Raiders and Cronulla Sharks) would be included in the NRLW; taking the number of teams from six to 10.
For Clydsdale, whilst growth is exciting it’s also important to ensure that the women playing are well supported to ensure that they can play footy at the elite level but also manage their jobs, families and any other responsibilities they may have.
“It’s also about making sure the calendar isn’t too jam-packed so that everyone has the chance to watch us play.
“This year has been jam packed so I am hoping for a bigger off season at the end of this year so we can go into the next NRLW feeling refreshed.
“We also need to make sure that women and girls can hold down jobs because asking for so much time off means that people can be let go.
“But I am super excited – I love playing footy, so any opportunity to play is one that I will grab with both hands.”