Former rugby sevens star Evania Pelite has given the Maroons set-up the ultimate compliment by declaring the culture in camp as one of the best experiences she’s ever been involved in.
The 26-year-old is set to make her Origin debut for Queensland on Friday night after starring for the Titans in the NRLW earlier this year with Maroons captain Ali Brigginshaw earlier this week declaring people "weren't ready" for Pelite's skill.
Pelite switched to rugby league from rugby sevens two years ago, recently announcing she wouldn’t return to the sevens circuit with the Australian side.
Rugby’s loss has been rugby league’s gain in recent years with Pelite joining her former Australian sevens teammate and NSW star Emma Tonegato in relishing the change to a new code.
"It’s really nice to see the girls transitioning out and finding their feet in another sport," Pelite told NRL.com.
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"There’s a lot of cool, positive things that have come out from my transition to league. Culture is massive for me, it’s a big reason why I left the sevens environment.
"The culture the girls have built at the Maroons and the environment of rugby league itself is what I’ve been looking for.
"I can’t fault anything we’ve done in camp so far and the whole experience has been amazing... the best.
"Coming in here and being a bit fresh to rugby league I haven’t tried to stamp my authority with anything and I’m just sitting back and really enjoying it."
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Pelite has re-signed with the Titans for the upcoming 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership season and will play alongside veteran Steph Hancock both on Friday night and for the next NRLW campaign.
Hancock, a Maroons legend set to play her 17th interstate clash for Queensland, originally retired in the Origin arena in 2020 but couldn’t resist a return this year after a strong season for the Titans in April.
The pair have built a strong friendship in the past 12 months with Pelite looking up to the Maroons stalwart.
“It’s really cool, she’s been around the game for a long time and it’s just nice to be able to play alongside somebody with her experience,” Pelite said.
“Our relationship off the field is really fun and we get along well. She’s teaching me a lot. She can be straight up but so can I so we have a nice balance.
"It's great to see her back and I can't wait to play an Origin game with her."
Match: NSW Women v QLD Maroons
Round 1 -
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Pelite will start at left centre for Friday night’s clash and will mark NSW star Jessica Sergis in a match-up to savour.
While she won’t have the Origin experience, Pelite’s experience in big matches on the sevens circuit will have her well prepared.
“I’m expecting a really physical battle, all the girls talk about how it goes up another level,” she said.
“We’re expecting to the Blues to come out firing and be really up-front and I’m expecting that with Jess.”