LEEDS RHINOS continue to bolster their squad in a bid to defend their Women’s Super League title with the signing of New Zealand international Georgia Hale for the 2023 season.
The New Zealander, 27, made her Kiwi Ferns debut in 2015 and two years later picked up the New Zealand Player of the Year Award. In 2017 she became vice-captain of New Zealand and represented her country in that year’s Rugby League World Cup.
In 2019 she started for the Ferns in their win over Australia in the World Cup 9s Final and last year played in four World Cup games for her country, including the semi-final win against England and the Final at Old Trafford.
The loose forward started her NRLW career with New Zealand Warriors in 2018 in their inaugural season in the competition and went onto captain the team for two seasons before joining the Gold Coast Titans as their marquee signing in 2021. She was named the Young New Zealander of the Year in 2019 and won the Veronica White Medal in 2020 for her contribution to the local community.
Speaking about joining the Rhinos, Hale said: “It’s so nice to be here and to join the club. I arrived last week and have met the staff and the girls and there is a really good buzz around the place. I was over here for the World Cup last year so that was a nice opportunity to meet people and see what the Rhinos are about. My partner, Sam Lisone, is obviously over here too so it was a good opportunity for us both to represent the Rhinos and move overseas and still chase our footy dream. It’s fantastic that the game allows us to do that.
“I have heritage over here in England, my Nanna is from here, so it’s nice to be connecting with her roots and to be playing for such a prestigious club and alongside such a great group of girls.
“The success within the club is great to see and especially within the women’s space and I am exited to be part of that and to keep building with what they have created and just to add to some of my learnings along the way.”
Leeds Rhinos Head Coach Lois Forsell, who played against Hale in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, said she is delighted to bring a player with Hale’s quality and experience to the Rhinos.
She said: “We have been really excited at the prospect of Georgia coming over. She finally landed last week and jumped in with two feet and was in training with us last week before joining us for our pre-season training session camp with the Parachute Regiment in Catterick last week.
“I think she is going to add loads of quality to our squad, particularly in leadership and just the fact that she has played in the top tier in the NRLW and internationally is massive for us. So it’s great to have someone with that sort of experience and skill around the place and we can see from even these early days that she will add a lot of value.”