Long-time Canadian Rugby star Andrea Burk has had a vast array of experience in the 15-aside game but jumped at the chance to represent her country in the 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup.
Despite conceding a flurry of tries in the second-half, Burk says her side can take confidence in knowing they can compete with the best in the world after trailing by just 12 points at half-time.
“Looking at the scoreline it’s really disappointing, that second half was a very different story than the first,” she said.
“We know in league its hard to play without the ball and hard to defend and especially against a team that is as skilled and strong as the kiwi ferns.”
After representing Canada in the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup, Burk travelled to Auckland to “immerse herself in a culture of rugby” and says it certainly played a part in her smooth transition to rugby league.
She admired the culture of rugby league in New Zealand and had no hesitation when she knew Canada had qualified for their first rugby league World Cup.
“I think its an opportunity to try something new but honestly i went down to Auckland in 2016 to play rugby and enhance my rugby game,” she said.
Although both codes have their glaring differences, Burk recognised multiple similarities in her first hit-out on Thursday afternoon.
She believes her experience will play a key part in her professional rugby development – particularly her efforts on defence where she admits was the most similar aspect between the league and union.
“The style of the game really does complement rugby union, it’s a lot of fun to play with the momentum that builds,” she asid.
“I think the connection on defence is one of the main similarities. The same story applies if you don’t have the ball, it becomes really hard to defend.
“Keeping the ball in hand [is also important] and I really like the layers in attack that we see more of in rugby league.”
She spoke of her sheer enjoyment despite the heavy defeat and hasn’t ruled out a desire to continue her rugby league career if a professional Women’s competition is introduced.
A player of Burks calibre could play a key role in the recognition of women’s rugby league across the world and would be a quality addition to any respective outfit.
“I hear there are some exciting things happening between the NRL and some of the pro-leagues so i’m not hanging up the boots after the competition just yet.”
Andre Cupido | @AndreCupido10
Rugby League World Cup 2017 Reporter