ARTICLE PUBLISHED ON NRL.COM BY ALICIA NEWTON
Rising NRLW star Shanice Parker doesn’t have to look far in the family when it comes to success at the international level.
Parker, the daughter of former Australian Jillaroos forward Danielle Parker, has created her own path to the elite level after leaving the family’s Western Australia home for Sydney in 2016 to pursue a career in rugby union.
It was mum Danielle who essentially booted Shanice out of their family home in Perth at just 18 years of age when a contract came through for the dual code athlete.
And as for mum, Danielle is still playing club rugby league in Perth at the ripe age of 41 after representing the Jillaroos at the Rugby League World Cup in 2000.
“I’ve been able to play with her which is really cool and not many people could say they play with their mum,” Shanice told NRL.com.
“She’s still kicking on, I don’t know how but she’s doing it. She’s in the middle of the field, will run and tackle where as I try and avoid all that.
“She’s definitely the hard head in the family but if it wasn’t for her I might not be here in Sydney, she had me leaving within two weeks after the rugby contract came through.
“I haven’t really looked back.”
Despite her success in rugby sevens, where she was in the Wallaroos squad alongside Millie Boyle earlier this year, rugby league has always been in the background for Shanice, who put an end to the juggling act of balancing league and union this season to focus on the 13-player code.
“I stopped playing league at 12 like everyone because of the contact. I kept playing league tag and then transitioned to union when I was 15,” Parker said.
“Rugby league was my sport growing up and then seeing everything going on I had a bit of FOMO [fear of missing out] and thought I’d try my luck.
“Millie and I had a chat at Nationals because I was in the Wallaroos squad as well but I just stuck with one this year because I tried to do both and I don’t want my body to break before I’m 22.
“I wanted to find my true passion and it’s exciting times for all women in sports. You’ve got the NRLW, Super W and Test matches for both the Jillaroos and Wallaroos.
“I guess people want to have a taste for something different and we’re in prime time and have the flexibility to try them all if we’re good enough and it’s really good.”
Parker has signed with the Roosters for the 2019 NRL Holden Women’s Premiership but conceded she’s still trying to work out her best position.
She joined an extended Jillaroos training squad for physical and speed testing on the Gold Coast last week in preparing for the stint with the Tricolours.
“I’m still learning the game, we’re all still trying to figure out my preferred position,” Parker said.
“I play fullback at club level, wing in rugby union, the Roosters want me to play in the centres and some people are in my ear about playing in the halves so we’ll just have to wait and see.”