Rugby Sevens star joins Roosters as first US player in NRLW history | The Sporting Base
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Rugby Sevens star joins Roosters as first US player in NRLW history

April 3, 2024

Rugby Sevens star joins Roosters as first US player in NRLW history

United States Sevens representative Liz Tafuna has become the first player from the U.S. to sign for an NRL Women’s Premiership team after putting pen to paper with the Sydney Roosters earlier this week.

Sydney managed to beat the eager Canberra Raiders to Tafuna’s signature after the 21-year-old eventually chose Bondi over the nation’s capital.

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Tafuna landed on the radar of several NRL clubs after impressing at the combine hosted by the NRL in Las Vegas just before the start of the 2024 season. She, along with combine winners Megan Pakulis and MarCaya Bailous, immediately became top targets for clubs looking to round out their squads for this year’s fast-approaching campaign.

The Sporting Base understands she’s initially been signed to a one-year deal.

Tafuna may be new to rugby league, but she’s an old hand at footy despite her young age. She was born in New Zealand and has previously represented the Ferns in Sevens rugby, but her main path to sporting stardom has come in the States after her family moved to Utah. She started out playing 15-a-side rugby before being picked for the USA in sevens.

Sydney Roosters coach John Strange, who sat down with Tafuna for an hour-long conversation about her future before greenlighting the historic signing, said he hopes the Sevens star’s move into rugby league inspires more Americans to consider the NRLW as a possible sporting venture.

“There are so many athletes over there who come through the college system and it is all really professional so no matter what sport they do, they learn good habits and dedication,” Strange told NRL.com.

“They teach them resilience so not only are they good athletes but they are mentally strong as well.

“Now it is just a matter of understanding this game but because they have got that mindset of wanting to learn and pushing themselves to be their best, I believe this will open the door for a lot of them to come over and play.”

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Tafuna is expected to play somewhere in the Roosters backline, likely winger or centre, if she manages to make her debut in round one when Sydney faces reigning premiers the Knights.


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