Queensland’s Chook travelling very nicely
YOU would be hard pressed to find someone more Queensland than Zahara Temara.
A Maroons player in league and union, so comfortable was she in her family home on the Gold Coast, Roosters coach Adam Hartigan and captain Simaima Taufa, 21, had to deliver one heck of a pitch when they were trying to sign her.
Committing to Brisbane Broncos would have been easier and far more comfortable. But after speaking to her father, she decided it was time to push herself.
Now Temara shapes as one of the key players in the NRLW grand final who could sink the dreams of the Broncos.
This is a different person to the one many of them have played alongside for the Maroons and Jillaroos, though.
Temara has matured and by exposing herself to different players and a new environ- ment, her football has changed, too.
“I didn’t want to travel anywhere,” she said. “My whole family lived there (Queensland) and I live with my parents and I love hanging out with my family all the time.
“It was a massive decision for me to come down here and make the big move.
“I’m really glad I made it. I’ve learnt a lot here.’’
Last week, fans finally caught sight of what Temara can do on the field when she moved from lock to halfback.
Guilty of “trying to play like a prop, which I’m not” during the first two rounds, once she was in the No.7 for round three, she felt “really comfortable and confident” with the ball.
The result was a six-try, 26-0 win over St George Illawarra and a place in the final.
Temara’s fingerprints were all over the win.
She was involved in the build-up to three tries and two came from her kicks. Her impact was undeniable. It’s why Queensland Reds fought so hard to have her part of their campaign in this year’s inaugural Super W.
Confusion around the NRL’s women’s elite top 40 contracts kept Temara sidelined for the first few rounds.
She still trained with the team and was eventually cleared to play for the Reds’ final round, a close 32-30 win over Western Force.
The win put them into the final and Temara, at fiveeighth, almost led them to the title, a penalty in double extra time to the NSW Waratahs the only thing that split the teams.
“What she brought to our game was a really cool, calm head with lovely hands and good vision,” Reds coach Michael Hayes said.
“She’s an outstanding athlete. She reads the game well. She has a lovely short kicking game. History shows we scored two tries to one in the final but still got beaten, which is a shame.”
That final will fuel Temara today. It’s a loss that’s almost six months old but stings like it happened yesterday.
On top of that, the Roosters are still hurting from how they started the NRLW season.
It all combines to make for a very determined halfback.
“That loss hurt,” Temara said. “And even the first two weeks for this team hurt and we don’t want to feel that way again.
“I’ll definitely have that at the back of my mind when I’m out there because I don’t want to feel like that again.”
First, she must stop a redhot Broncos team that have gone through the competition undefeated and barely challenged.
“I think there’s pressure on both teams but a bit less on us because we are the underdogs now,” she said.