As seen on Sydney Morning Herald

Niall Williams-Guthrie remembers the intensity and the excitement of the 2004 NRL grand final.

She’d flown over from New Zealand to watch her 19-year-old brother, Sonny Bill Williams, play for the premiership in front of 80,000 people in just his first year in the NRL.

Nineteen years later, Williams-Guthrie is poised to experience those emotions all over again – but this time she’ll be on the field, rather than in the stands, when she runs out for the Titans in Sunday’s NRLW grand final.

“That was unreal, that was crazy [2004 final]. I remember sitting in the stands watching with all of our family, there was like 50 of us … it was a cool moment for our family,” Williams-Guthrie said.

“For me to even be a part of the Titans is massive, but hopefully be a part of a first premiership winning team, in any sport on the Gold Coast, is massive,” she said.

“We said we wanted to bring gold to the Gold [Coast]. We’ve never shied away that that was our end goal, but we knew we had to tick all the boxes to get there.

“To be able to put ourselves in the position where we are only one game away from doing that is just credit to the girls and our management.”

Williams-Guthrie is playing her first season in rugby league at the age of 35, after switching from rugby sevens where she won an Olympic silver and Commonwealth Games gold and bronze for New Zealand.

“Sometimes people talk to me like I’m a seasoned veteran because I’ve played sports for so long, but I’m pretty much 9-10 games deep in my league career,” she said.

And when she needs a bit of extra advice, her brother isn’t afraid to give some feedback.

“I get voice messages from him [Sonny], the whole debrief, after every game,” she said.

The Titans have been the surprise package of the NRLW season. Karyn Murphy’s team is made up of a mix of veterans like Stephanie Hancock (41) and Karina Brown (34), and a handful of teenagers fresh out of the Titans junior pathways such as Rilee Jorgensen and Destiny Mino-Sinapati.

One thing that Williams-Guthrie has that a lot of the younger players don’t is big game experience.

“One more set, that’s all we got. The next tackle, that’s all we got right now, right here and then,” she tells them.

“You can’t go too far ahead of yourself, or you don’t stay in the moment, and you’re thinking about the grand final, but you’re missing the tackle here.

“Whether it’s a good moment or a bad moment, you learn from it and you move on to the next one, and that’s what I’ve been drilling into some of the young girls.”

Just as she flew over to support Williams 2004, her family is flying across the ditch this weekend to cheer her on.

“The club helped me to get my daughters and Tama [husband] over for the grand final, so we just had to have that faith that we were going to be in the grand final,” she said. “They’re flying in the day before, and it’s been two and a half months since I last saw them, so it’s going to be a big reunion.”