Audama a mentor, leader in league


IN rugby league, Della Audama is a mentor and leader in her own right.
Audama, 26, hails from Ainabane village, Simbu, has the leadership quality and is one of the most experienced women’s rugby league players in Port Moresby.
She has the advantage over the other players as a game development officer with the Australia’s National Rugby League office in Papua New Guinea.
The Simbu lass plays a major role in the Butterflies women’s team as the captain and trainer – a challenge which she relishes.
“Everyone is all looking for the Papua New Guinea women’s team to the World Cup (in November) in Sydney, Australia, which has motivated and boosted the morale of the players in the city competition.
Audama has the frame to compete at the top of her game, standing 169cm tall and weighing 75kg, this utility, who plays in the forwards but has the agility and skills to slot into the backline, certainly has not done her representative aspirations any harm.
Audama is the captain of the Butterflies, who are in the top five of the Port Moresby Rugby League women’s competition and has scored tries against Sisters, Souths and the Hawks in her last three games.
“I’m taking things as they comes, not putting too much pressure on myself,” Audama said.
“I’m getting into the best condition and hopefully I avoid any major injuries.”
Audama has only been playing rugby league for six years. She started as a 20-year-old after getting encouragement from friends Sylvester and Simon Nuabo.
“I played bit of rugby (union) when women’s league was not yet set up but I switched because I wanted to focus on one sport and rugby league is the most popular one,” she said.
She represented Port Moresby Papuan Blacks in 2013 for the first women’s championship which her side won.
“It was a great experience for me to travel out of Port Moresby for a women’s rugby league tournament,” she recalls.
She was part of the Southern Zone women’s side from 2014 last year at the National Zone Championships in Lae – her side won the 2014 and 2016 titles and lost the 2015 final to Lae.
Incidentally, Audama captained the Southern Zone side in 2014 and 2016 – their championship-winning years. In 2014, she was selected in the PNG women’s side to play the possible side in the stand alone match to the Prime Minister’s XIII fixture between Australia and PNG.
She has since been picked to be part of the national women’s squad training programme in preparation for the World Cup.
“There is a big group of players and we all have the potential but the training and preparation process see the final squad picked and hopefully I can make it,” Audama said
“I know a new training squad will be selected in Lae after the National Zone Championship so no one is guaranteed a place on the team.
“The good thing is because the selectors will pick from the four regions, competition here in Port Moresby is improving because the girls here know they have to make the Southern Zone side to have any chance.”
Audama said after the weekend’s match against the Sisters at the National Football Stadium Oval 2 that competing was the first reward for her and anything else was a bonus.
“I play rugby league and enjoy it so much as well as being part of a team,” she said.
“Sure, there are disappointments (losses) but that is all part of playing sport.”

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