READY TO RUMBLE: Emerald's Deb Barchard is raring to go at the rugby league nationals this weekend.
READY TO RUMBLE: Emerald's Deb Barchard is raring to go at the rugby league nationals this weekend. Contributed

Sport gives life to player

AS SHE prepares for this weekend's rugby league nationals after her selection on the Queensland Country Women's team, Deborah Barchard said she "wouldn't be able to breathe” without sport.

The Emerald Brothers player, who will play at Pizzey Park on the Gold Coast this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, said she was "super keen and super excited” and "blessed and humbled” by her selection.

The Queensland Country Women's team was announced two weeks ago after a 22-16 win to the Central Crows over the Northern Marlins in Mackay.

"You get to play against the best in the game. There's nothing more exciting than rep footy season,” Barchard said.

"I've played a lot of rep footy and rep rugby - I wouldn't be able to breathe without it.

"Last year was the first year I made it through the ranks and I made a name for myself and this year I'm ready to give it my all.”

The 25-year-old from Moranbah said her grandmother, Sherry Raymond, was travelling from their home of Manukau in New Zealand to watch the game.

"My grandma followed my dad around wherever he went and now she's following me around. I just can't wait.”

Barchard, who moved to Australia about five years ago and located in Moranbah to be near Emerald and play in the Central Highlands team, said she had grown up watching her father play rugby union, a game she also played.

"I would finish my game, go to my brother's game, go to my dad's game, then hang around and get fed,” she said.

"I played in the World Cup qualifiers in Spain for rugby union when I was 18.

"It was one of the best experiences - being in that atmosphere of professionalism - it caught me and I've been stuck ever since.”

She said her current coaches, Gee Martin and Alan McIndoe, had given her "the best year”.

"And I feel blessed and lucky to be surrounded by my friends and family who enable me to be the best me,” she said. "I'm humbled and grateful for the people in my life - my housemates, parents, and grandparents - and all the way to the kids at training who come up and give me a high five.”

Barchard, who trains three times a week, said she's aiming to play professionally "without a doubt”.

"I want to play for the Queensland Maroons - I just have to put in the hard work to get there.”

She said one of her sporting idols was Steph Hancock and "meeting her was one of my dreams”.

"It's her off-the-field work where she's helping out the kids and going to different events. It inspires me and drives me and makes me want to be who I am, help where I can and push myself to my limits.”

As for the topic of women in sport, Barchard said it "definitely feels good having an NRL banner and world cups”.

"It's inspiring and just makes you feel so privileged and so happy to be able to showcase your talent and put women's rugby on the map.”