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Chante Temara: ‘My sister inspires me to be better’

Chante Temara’s game elevated in 2023 and she is looking to continue her upward trajectory.

Temara starred for the Burleigh Bears throughout the BMD Premiership season and helped guide them to their grand final win; she was also part of Canberra Raiders’ inaugural NRLW side.

The quiet 22-year-old hooker is younger sister to Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons vice-captain and teammate at the Bears and Raiders, Zahara Temara.

She has always idolised her sister and relishes following in her footsteps and playing alongside her.

“2023 was pretty enjoyable… I had so much fun last year,” Temara said, adding it was “eye-opening” heading to Raiders to be part of their squad.

Playing for the Raiders. Photo: NRL Imagery
Playing for the Raiders. Photo: NRL Imagery

“I got an opportunity I didn’t think would happen and I enjoyed it. I got a call from (coach Darrin Borthwick) and he actually asked me to be his number one No.9 and I was quite shocked.

“Actually, I was very shocked… I was like ‘are you sure?’ Very grateful. Went to Canberra and loved it.

“It had just been a while since I had someone that put that much faith in me and I was like ‘wow’.”

Having her big sister there – someone she could rely on - also meant Canberra felt like a home away from home for Temara.

“I look up to my sister because she started it for our family,” Temara said.

“She's like ‘I want to play league’ and then I'd watch her and think ‘oh, my gosh, I can't believe you actually play’… she was always like ‘let’s do this’, so then I gave it a crack. I did get smashed but I enjoyed it.”

Playing for Burleigh Bears. Photo: NRL Imagery
Playing for Burleigh Bears. Photo: NRL Imagery

Temara first played at school, at Merrimac State High, before moving to Keebra Park State High and then Nerang Roosters.

“I just kept playing because I was like ‘oh, this is really fun’,” Temara said.

“I haven’t looked back and I’m still loving it, obviously, still loving every bit of it.

Off the back of her fine form in 2023, Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons coach Tahnee Norris recalled Temara into the extended Maroons squad for 2024.

The last time she was in the squad was 2022; she said missing out the past year was a “big wake up call” after she “relaxed a bit too much”.

“She was like ‘I just want to welcome you back’ and then I was like, ‘really?’, and then I was like ‘yes please’,” Temara, who played in the Queensland Under 18 side in 2019, said.

Playing for Queensland in 2019. Photo: NRL Imagery
Playing for Queensland in 2019. Photo: NRL Imagery

Temara said Norris was pleased with the season she had and the improvements she had made to her game, especially defensively.

To wear maroon, Temara said, “would be amazing” given she had watched on and been inspired by all of the women who had donned the jersey.

“After watching all the games and watching the girls run out, I’d like to be one of those girls… but I’ve still got so much to work on,” Temara said.

“They've set the bar really high and I'd like to follow in their steps.”

The youngster said the year gone and being called back into the Maroons squad had given her a lot more confidence moving forward.

Temara said she looked forward to running out for the Bears in the upcoming BMD Premiership season – and she hoped to take out the competition again - and for the Raiders once NRLW started.

“This year I will really focus on what I want to do for the team… I think last year I was really grateful to be there… but this time I really want to make my mark,” Temara said.

This Temara, that Temara

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.