10 October 2023
A dual captaincy will see veterans Georgia Hale and Raecene McGregor step up to lead the Kiwi Ferns in the 2023 Pacific Championship.The announcement of the co-captains comes ahead of the Kiwi Ferns’ first game against the Jillaroos in Townsville on Saturday 14 October.Kiwi Ferns head coach Ricky Henry says the experienced duo are the ‘whole package’, who can lead the team to success in the Pacific Championships and beyond to the 2025 Women’s Rugby League World Cup (to be held in 2026).“They’ve both got experience that can’t be matched.”
Ricky says Georgia embodies where the game is going, as a wāhine who has cemented herself as a respected leader, after moving from ‘local footy’ to the NRLW.
“People want to play with her or play for her, which says a lot and that’s coaches and staff too. We saw that in the Titans,” says Ricky.Georgia, 28 led the Gold Coast Titans to second place in the NRLW and has become a strong figure-head in the game for both her versatility, playing as a lock and half, alongside her heart-felt leadership style.
“Georgia has been one of the best players in the NRLW through hardwork and persistence and that’s where the respect comes from first. At the same time she really cares about those around her.”
It’s a proud moment for Georgia, being able to don the black and white jersey once more and continue the legacy of the Kiwi Ferns.
“The most important thing for me to do on this tour is grow the connection of our team, so we can bring our culture to life, which is what we pride ourselves on. It’s our superpower, our inner strength.”
For Georgia, empowering others through their youth, wisdom or own personal culture will also be at the forefront for her on this campaign, with 12 debutantes.
Kiwi Fern half Raecene McGregor, 25 is filled with gratitude at the naming. It comes off the back of a strong NRLW season with the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Raecene, the 2022 winner of the Dally M Medal NRLW, says holding the role of captain is something she has always wanted to do.“Over the last two years I’ve felt ready to take on this position, knowing that I’ve come into myself a little more and gained experience through age too.”
The five-eight says she attributes her leadership qualities to her Mum, who instilled in her the notion to be respectful and kind to other people.
“If you want to be treated a certain way, treat them that way,” she says.
Rick says while Georgia has witnessed the evolution of the game since her test debut in 2015, Raecene has helped build that.“Raecene has got the kicks, the lovely pass, the game IQ and her leadership on the field is what the team trust. She’s been a trail-blaser of the women’s game,” says Ricky.
“Players look to her to come up with the big play or the right play on the field and she expects the best of people on and off the field.”Shanice Parker and Mya Hill-Moana have also been selected to support Hale and McGregor as part of a wider leadership team.
Ricky says he will be looking to the co-captains and leadership team to help deliver key messaging and simplify technical language. “If they can help us lead better, then we can be more effective as a team.”