Laken Patai
Laken Patai

Gladstone girl makes the grade in her chosen sport

RUGBY LEAGUE:A former Gladstone Port City Power women's player, Gladstone Valleys junior, Gladstone Sun, rugby player and Yaralla netballer said her recent international experience was something she won't forget.

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Laken Patai, 18, made her debut for the Australian Prime Minister's XIII recently against Fiji in Suva.

What made it better was a come-from-behind 22-14 win.

"It was really different to what I was used to and it was a lot of hard work," Patai said.

"My coach Brad Donald said after the game that I had done my job."

Patai moved south to the Gold Coast in 2017 to seek more opportunities to play at the top level.

"It was just to develop my sporting opportunities," she said.

Patai played for Burleigh Bears in the South East Queensland Women's Rugby League Division One competition.

Bears lost 20-8 but Patai said playing at a high level has improved her game.

The talented forward's next aim is to make the grade at NRLW level to follow in the footsteps of Brisbane Bronco and Gladstone Wallaby Chelsea Baker.

"This year was certainly different and hopefully my main goal is to get an NRLW contract and hoping that I can," Patai said.

To play in the PM's team has her well prepared to get a gig with an NRLW club.

"It is a lot different to club and the way that Brad talks and the way the girls respond and everything," Patai said of the professional approach.

But there is that laid-back country girl nature in Patai.

"At the end of the day we come here to play rugby league and it's still the same ... basics and to get them right," she said.