The Canberra Raiders are proud to announce that Ua Ravu and Elise Smith have signed on for the club’s inaugural NRLW season.
Ravu is a Papua New Guinea Orchids representative and plays for the Harden Worhawks in the local Katrina Fanning Shield (KFS) competition, while Elise Smith was part of the Yass Magpies’ 2022 KFS premiership winning team.
Both Ravu and Smith attended the club’s Regional Women’s Skills clinic in Griffith in January and were also part of the KFS Academy that ran for six weeks earlier in the year.
For both players it will be their first NRLW contract.
Ravu represented the Orchids at the 2021 World Cup as well as the 2019 World Cup Nines and the nation’s two Test Matches against England in the same year.
The 26-year-old grew up in Leeton and now lives in Griffith where she is a Game Development Officer for the NRL.
Ravu said she is grateful for the opportunity to join the Raiders and can’t wait to get started.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I’m still getting all the emotions and there’ll still be more to come but it feels really good, it’s very exciting and I’m looking forward to it,” Ravu said.
“It’s something I’ve always dreamed of doing so I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”
Smith, who lives in Junee, started playing footy after she finished school and has played both Rugby League and Rugby Union over the past decade.
The 29-year-old has represented the Riverina Bulls in the NSW Country Championships in recent years and has also been part of the ACT Brumbies wider squad.
Smith said she can’t wait to take the next step in her rugby league journey into the NRLW competition.
“I’ve been blessed and I’m just so grateful to be able to put this green shirt on, it means so much to me. I’m so happy and excited for the journey,” Smith said.
“It’s so surreal, it’s honestly a dream. You watch those NRLW girls and you aspire to be like them or you look up to them and it’s honestly going to be so crazy to train with them.
“I’m so excited to learn from them and take the field with them.”
Raiders NRLW coach Darrin Borthwick is excited to see the talented duo from the Riverina be part of his inaugural squad.
“That was part of the reason we did the clinics and the Academy was to find that player that stood out amongst the group,” Borthwick said.
“Elise is a local, she’s very excited about the prospect of playing for the Raiders now because she’s now seen that pathway and she’s been rewarded with a contract as well and I can’t wait for her to rip in.”
“I’m really excited for Ua. It’s another good story where she moved over to Australia at a young age and never had that opportunity to travel to Sydney to play in an elite state comp.
“She was obviously rewarded with some good form here in the local KFS comp with her Papua New Guinea representation at the World Cup.
“I’m really happy to have Ua here. We talk about fitting the mould of being a good person but being a good player as well that’s what I’m most excited about with Ua. I can’t wait for her to get here and fulfil the dream she’s had for a long time of playing for the Canberra Raiders.”
Keep up-to-date with all of the Raiders NRLW signings here.