A classy performer in the halves with the versatility and work-rate to play hooker or lock, Georgia Hale has become one of women’s rugby league’s most recognisable – and through her community work at the Warriors, hardest-working – figures over the past five years.
A New Zealand touch and tag-football rep, Hale was 18th player for the Kiwi Ferns in their 2014 Test against the Jillaroos at just 19 years of age. A few months later she featured in the historic Kiwi Ferns-Jillaroos series at the 2015 NRL Auckland Nines.
Hale made her Test debut off the bench in the 2015 Anzac Test loss. The gifted playmaker was the linchpin of the Kiwi Ferns’ 2016-17 Auckland Nines campaigns and wore the No.6 in the Anzac Test both seasons.
Named vice-captain for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup soon after turning 22, Hale featured in pool wins over Canada and Papua New Guinea, and the semi-final demolition of England. But she was an unlucky omission from the game-day 17 for the final against Australia.
The Richmond stalwart – playing in all three of the Roses’ 2017-19 ARL grand final losses – and Akarana Falcons rep was part of the Warriors’ squad for the inaugural NRLW premiership in 2018. She started all three games at halfback for the Warriors, before coming off the bench in the Kiwi Ferns’ end-of-season Test loss to the Jillaroos.
The courageous Hale returned to New Zealand’s starting line-up for the mid-season Test against Fetu Samoa in 2019, racking up 29 tackles and 122 metres from lock in the 46-8 win.
Named Warriors captain for their sophomore NRLW campaign, Hale switched to the No.13 jersey for the Warriors’ first two games and scored their opening try in the win over Sydney Roosters. She reverted to five-eighth for the Warriors’ final match – a stunning 10-8 upset of eventual champs Brisbane. The 24-year-old averaged 69 metres and 36 tackles across the three games.
After playing a key role in the Kiwi Ferns’ World Cup Nines triumph (she made a team-high 57 metres in the upset of the Jillaroos in the final), Hale was at lock again in the subsequent Test loss to Australia in Wollongong.
Already named a Kiwibank Local Hero Medal recipient and the New Zealand representative player of the year at the RLPA Players’ Champion awards, Hale’s contribution to rugby league and community initiatives for children and people with disabilities was further recognised when she was honoured as the 2019 Young New Zealander of the Year.
The inspirational Hale – one of just five New Zealand-based players to head to Australia for the 2020 NRLW premiership – was appointed the Warriors’ captain, starring in the No.13 jersey in all three of the club’s games and averaging 39 tackles and 68 metres. She was awarded the Veronica White Medal on NRL Grand Final day for her exceptional off-field work.