Courtney Hill (Leeds Rhinos) Quickfire Q & A

Leeds Rhinos’ Aussie captain and former Big Bash cricketer is in the hotseat.

Charlie RL: Leeds cup final win was great. The team seemed to hang in defensively at the end – was it nerve-wracking or did adrenaline get you by?
That last 15 minutes seemed to last for an eternity and I wouldn’t say I enjoyed them. It wasn’t nerve-wracking from my point of view but I’m guessing those people watching on the bench were nervous. I was leading the girls around so I was the last person they needed to see nervous and I didn’t want to impact on their game. It was certainly a relief though when the final hooter went.

Scubby: Did it feel like the game-breaker when you scored that second-half try in the Challenge Cup final?
In the moment we didn’t know if that was going to be the match-winning try or not, we still had 20 minutes to go. Looking back I wish I had maybe enjoyed the moment a little bit more as I was a bit emotionless at the time. It was a case of score the try, kick the goal and get back into the grind for the rest of the game. It enhanced the attitude though. When you go six points up in a final is spurs you on to keep doing what has worked to get you in that position.

Emosi Koloto: Are you planning to stay in England for the long term and if you are would you make yourself available to play for England in the World Cup 2021?
I’m staying here until you guys kick me out so I’m sticking around for a bit longer yet. I’m not sure if I’ll even still be playing though by the time the World Cup comes around. My old body is starting to feel the impact on a Monday morning. I’m not sure I would even qualify for England, but if I did, I’m sure there are a lot of younger players who could come through and represent their country better than I could.

DoubleD: Do you think, with the talent coming through, that England stand a genuine chance of winning the World Cup in 2021 or are they too far behind Australia and NZ? 
It’s hard to compare because I was never really involved with Rugby League in Australia in my adult playing career. Australia and New Zealand are powerhouses, but the things Super League have been doing over here, and the fact it’s on home soil can bring out the best in England. It’s still too far away to predict a winner, but England’s tour to Australia and PNG this year will give us a better idea of how they will match up to the other teams.

Manx RL: Chips or rice?
Definitely chips – I’m a chips and gravy kind of girl. Or Ketchup. I don’t understand the curry sauce thing though – I can’t bring myself to do it.

Carisma HFC: What is the most transferrable skill from your cricket career to your Rugby League career?
There aren’t too many transferable technical skills because they are such different sports, but having played cricket I do find being under the high ball very comfortable. I can tell you a rugby ball is much easier to catch than a cricket ball.

Melissa Jayne Bennett Hill: I’ve heard you got your talent from your mother, is this true, asking for a friend?
I recognise that name! Of course I get my talent from my mother. I always say I get my physical talent from my dad, but I credit my mum for my mental genetics. My life model is that it’s not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog, and at 5’2″ that is my mother to a tee.

Daniel Muller: Who is your favourite cousin? And why is it me?
Look at all the family coming out the woodwork. We wind each other up with the favourite cousin chat all the time but we are very close and he’s my biggest supporter. He plays a good game of rugby too and is just finishing school but would like to play over here sometime. Hopefully, we can make it a cousin combo in the UK soon.

@emma_tr4_rhinos: What’s Adam Cuthbertson like as a coach?
Cuthbo is really good. He has a wonderful balance of patience and high standards. His experience brings a lot of respect from the girls and he’s a good character, who is genuinely interested in the women’s game.

@_sophieee97: Who’s your favourite player in the team? 
Sophie Robinson is a cheeky one. You can’t have favourites in the team, but if I could keep my feet and transform into someone else’s body it would be Dannielle Anderson. She’s not the biggest forward, but she can put in the hits, makes line breaks, gets offloads away.

@maddy_pepper: How do your teammates make practice fun?
We are never short of a laugh at each other when something goes wrong. But our coaching staff can see we need a mental and physical break and we’ll have silly competitions. We’ve had cricket, we’ve had Gaelic/Aussie Rules style footie, goal kicking comps and even football. I’ll tell you something – I’m not good at that round ball game. Throwing something like that in every few weeks freshens us up and is certainly good for a few belly laughs.

@amy_essexgal: What do you do to calm your butterflies while you compete?
Butterflies are natural in any sport. I’m lucky in that at the start of a game whether we’re kicking off or receiving, I’m usually one of the first to get my hands on the ball. Getting that first touch or tackle done is good and that’s when any nerves tend to disappear.

Man of Kent: Who are your Rugby League heroes?
I just used to love Rugby League so there was no one player in particular. Growing up in Queensland it was very much the Darren Lockyer era, and more recently I have loved watching guys like Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk. I also did some rugby and cricket coaching in schools back in Australia and coached Corey Oates and Kurt Mann, so I like following their careers now too.

RP London: What do you believe is the key to being able to develop the revenue streams to go full time and how far away do you think the game is from doing this?
From seeing how things developed in the Big Bash back in Australia, it initially needs a central investment from the over-riding body. I know the RFL are making some investments in the Women’s game, but to make returns it has to be risk v reward. The more they can get the game seen is a big area. I’m no businesswoman, but sometimes you do have to fork out initially to grow the game.

Gingerjon: There’s a fair amount of debate at the minute around contact sports, concussion and the like. What would you say to reassure any parents whose children (daughters in particular) are thinking of playing Rugby League?
Concussion isn’t just isolated to Rugby League, it happens in multiple sports, and while it is a concern when it does happen, the protocols are in place to look after that. The clubs are very well educated in the field. Yes, kids are going to kop a head knock now and then but it is part of the game and we can’t cover that up. Junior caches do a great job in training the kids well and educate them in how to tackle and take a hit properly. We do as much as we can but it’s never going to be a non-contact sport.

First published: Rugby League World (Issue 461|September 2019)