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NRL Telstra Premiership


NRL Telstra Premiership

NRL Telstra Premiership


Channel 054

Honey Hireme-Smiler boasts a representative league and rugby career spanning 18 years. The 38-year-old, also a regular Sky Sport commentator, spoke to Steve Landells about a challenging period personally, her hopes for this season and the changing landscape of women in sport.

Interview: Honey Hireme-Smiler

The Warriors had a challenging 2019. Are you confident of better in 2020?

I’ve been a lifelong Warriors fan and I’m confident for the season ahead. We’ve got a good leadership group through Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Blake Green, and some fantastic young talent coming through. If they play their natural game, and just add an extra mental edge to put in the hard grind in the final quarter, they’ll be a threat.

You mention some younger talent. Which Warriors players excite you?

Chanel Harris-Tavita was thrown into the mix last year and performed quite well. I’m interested to see whether they start him in the halves. He has great vision, and a good kicking game – a ton of X-factor. He will have a lot to offer the Warriors this season.

Last year, you took time out of the sport to look after your mum, who had terminal cancer. Can you tell me about the journey of the past six months or so?

Mum’s illness came as a huge surprise. She’d had a sore stomach for a couple of weeks and then doctors ran some tests and we were told she had three months to live. It sent my year into a whirlwind. I was preparing for the NRLW but my mum went downhill rapidly, so I stopped everything to care for her full-time. It was honestly an incredible privilege. I cherished every moment I spent with mum.

After missing the 2019 NRLW season for the Warriors to look after your mum, you’ll be back this season. After just missing the grand final, what is the expectation for 2020?

Led by Georgia Hale, a point of difference is our physicality and aggression, and other teams struggle to match that. Charntay Poko burst on the scene last year at halfback and she is one of a number of players with real X-factor. I think 2020 could be our first NRLW Premiership.

What changes have you seen in women’s sport?

We’ve undergone a massive transition, like being paid to play. There was no female rugby or league on TV when I was young, but now the Black Ferns and Kiwi Ferns’ profile is so much higher. It’s amazing to know we can help inspire the next generation.

How can the visibility of women’s sport be further improved?

We need to ensure sporting bodies are pushing the female side of our game and that women are being given an equal opportunity. It’s important we have access to the same resources as males. I’d like to see businesses invest more in female athletes. Males are dominant in terms of sponsorship.

Skywatch, March 2020

Sky Sport 4 LIVE:

Eels v Bulldogs: Thursday 12th – 9pm
Raiders v Titans: Friday 13th – 7.30pm
Cowboys v Broncos: Friday 13th – 10pm
Knights v Warriors: Saturday 14th – 4.30pm
Rabbitohs v Sharks: Saturday 14th – 7.30pm
Panthers v Roosters: Saturday 14th – 9.30pm
Sea Eagles v Storm: Sunday 15th – 5.30pm
Dragons v Tigers: Sunday 15th – 8pm
Bulldogs v Cowboys: Thursday 19th – 9pm
Dragons v Panthers: Friday 20th – 7.30pm
Broncos v Rabbitohs: Friday 20th – 10.05pm
Warriors v Raiders: Saturday 21st – 4.30pm
Roosters v Sea Eagles: Saturday 21st – 7.30pm
Sharks v Storm: Saturday 21st – 9.30pm
Tigers v Knights: Sunday 22nd – 5.30pm
Titans v Eels: Sunday 22nd – 8pm
Raiders v Dragons: Thursday 26th – 9pm
Sea Eagles v Warriors: Friday 27th – 7.30pm
Rabbitohs v Roosters: Friday 27th – 10pm
Sharks v Knights: Saturday 28th – 4.30pm
Storm v Panthers: Saturday 28th – 7pm
Cowboys v Eels: Saturday 28th – 9.30pm
Tigers v Bulldogs: Sunday 29th – 5.30pm
Titans v Broncos: Sunday 29th – 8pm



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