Who would have thought that turning up to the wrong gym for training eight years ago would eventually lead to Petra Woods being a possible selection for the Canada Ravens at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup?
In 2009 Woods was headed to a Lacrosse tryout, ended up in the wrong gym and trialled with her high school Rugby Union team, which quickly led to a newfound talent.
Since then Woods has represented Canada at an under 20s level and played for the Maple Leafs for their CanAm tour in 2016, but her next big challenge is looming, with her sights firmly set on representing the Ravens in the Rugby League World Cup in Sydney, Australia this November.
The Rugby League World Cup is the pinnacle for Rugby League athletes and Woods jumped at the opportunity to not only represent her country, but to push herself as far as possible as an athlete.
“I was instantly filled with ambition and excitement when I heard there was a chance at doing this (playing in the Rugby League World Cup), and when the Ravens reached out to interested athletes you know I was one of the first to send them my contact details.”
“It is hard to sit on the couch and watch people play international matches, always wondering what it would be like if you were in their boots.”
“To me this is my opportunity to fulfill those thoughts and push myself to achieve astonishing goals early on in my career,” Woods said.
Some of Canada’s best talent will be combining for the Rugby League World Cup and whilst Canada is a young Rugby League nation, Woods is quietly confident of achieving results that may surprise their competitors and Rugby League fans the world over.
“I know that based on our current player list we will be a huge threat at the World Cup.”
“Our potential roster includes a lot of strong and talented athletes who specialize in more than one area of the game and some of our fastest runners also have great size and aggression when playing which will fit in great with the League’s style of play,” Woods stated.
Despite the geographic hurdles that Canada’s sheer size creates when trying to bring together a squad of athletes, this hasn’t stopped the team from doing their utmost to ensure the Ravens will combine smoothly on the field when they take on New Zealand on November 16 in Sydney, Australia.
The Ravens have been training with provincial team mates and Woods was one of 15 squad members who took part of a session at Lamport Stadium before the Toronto Wolfpack defeated York City on July 2.
With plenty of talented athletes to choose from, Woods is aware that selection in the Rugby League World Cup is not guaranteed, nor will it be an easy process for the coaches, but she is certain to commit herself to learning and improving as much as possible in the meantime to give herself the best chance at selection.
“Having played at the Provincial and National Rugby Union levels I have met quite a few of my potential teammates and know them quite well and it will be a tough decision for coaches to select the final roster with the identified athletes at this point.”
“As individuals we must commit ourselves to training on our own or within our provinces.”
“The coaches have supplied us with very specific training programs to best prepare our bodies physically for the matches, as well as following nutrition guides to nourish them.”
“The only thing left is mentally preparing which is completely up to the athlete,” Woods exclaimed.
If selected for the World Cup, Woods will be hoping to use her footwork and agility to her full potential, which could see her play anywhere in the back five, but her best position will only become more apparent over time.
In the meantime Woods is committed training hard and to studying the nuances of Rugby League in order to be best prepared for the talent that the New Zealand, Australian and Papua New Guinean sides possess.
“The style of play is extremely fun to watch in League because it is a lot of hard tight running lines and offloads, as opposed to trying to spread the width of the ball in Union.”
“This will probably be the biggest difference for me to adapt to when learning the game.”
“Secretly, I am expecting to be very sore because of the amount of effort I will push my body to perform and I am sure the other girls will feel the same,” Woods said.
Canada Rugby League would like to congratulate Petra Woods on her achievements so far and wishes her the best of luck leading into the trials for selection in the Canada Ravens World Cup side!