A mother’s way
How rugby league saved Lavina Phillips
IT’S a neat coming together for City five-eighth Lavina Phillips today.
As she runs onto North Sydney Oval on Mother’s Day in the inaugural women’s City-Country game, it’s a fitting date considering she took up the sport eight years ago to help deal with post-natal depression.
Struggling after the birth of her second child, Phillips went to a training session with friends, joined the Redfern All Blacks and found a part of herself that — despite now juggling long days of work, family and training that start at 4.30am — she wouldn’t give up for the world. “I started playing when my second child
was born, probably eight months after. I suffered from post-natal depression. I was looking for an outlet and rugby league was it,” Phillips said.
“A few girls from the area were playing and I decided to go to training one night and it helped me a lot with that part of my life.
“There’s not enough hours in the day. I work fulltime, I have training and the kids’ sport as well and trying to nurture their dreams. ”It’s hard but it’s worth it, isn’t it?” When she went to that first session, Phillips never imagined where it would lead. She has since represented the Indigenous All Stars and NSW, and this weekend will guide City around the park against Country.
It’s been a huge 12 months and today could complete a treble.
“I’ve played with the Indigenous All Stars from the first game onwards. We just beat the All Stars for the first time in February this year,” she said.
“That was an amazing experience; that was probably one of the highlights of my rugby league career. And definitely beating Queensland for the first time in 17 years in the State of Origin, that’s right up there, too. I can’t wait.’’ The match continues the CityCountry tradition after the men’s fixture ended last weekend and will serve as a trial for the NSW team to contest the interstate challenge in a little over two months.
City are favourites but Phillips knows Country can lift.
“I think it’s going to be a tight one,’’ she said. “They have nothing to lose. There’s a lot of pressure on us to win it. They’ll come out firing.”
North Sydney Oval offers a home advantage and Phillips will have plenty of family cheering her on.
“It’s a blessing. Just to leave that legacy; here for the future, the girls of the future in rugby league,” she said.
“(My family) are so excited, especially Dad. He sits and watches my old Indigenous All Stars games and NSW games on Foxtel. He must have watched them about 10 times.
“My son plays rugby league and my daughter ... she’s desperate to play rugby league next year.’’
CITY v COUNTRY: TODAY, 1PM, NORTH SYDNEY OVAL
Lavina Phillips with her children Kyeema (left) and Shawn. Picture: Brett Costello