Rugby league utility Sarah Field’s sacrifice to chase dream with Rabbitohs leads to Indigenous All Stars recall

It didn’t matter that she had to live by herself above a pub, in a big city that was an 18-hour drive from everything and everybody she knew – Sarah Field was going to play for South Sydney, no matter what.

The Indigenous All Stars utility hails from Emu Park, outside Rockhampton, and a family of Rabbitohs tragics.

When she was 19 years old, she learned Souths were looking for players for their 2020 Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership side.

Given she had made her Indigenous All Stars debut as a 17-year-old in 2017, she knew she had the ability to compete at representative level.

“I saw them asking for players on Facebook, and I knew Dean Widders [former Rabbitohs and Parramatta Eels player], who was coach, from the first time I played Indigenous All Stars back in 2017. So I asked him if I could come down and try out. He said yes, so I made the move,” Field said.

“I was 19 and I found it really difficult because I’m such a family person. In Emu Park, I can walk down the street and pass three of my cousins’ houses.

Sarah Field with mum (second left), her Ngaire (nan) and dad at her debut game for the South Sydney Rabbitohs. (Supplied: Sarah Field)

“It’s an 18-hour drive from Sydney to see everyone and I was driving home every three weeks or so, just for the weekend, then I’d come back to training.

“I lived above the Moore Park pub. It wasn’t much, just a single bed in a room, with a shared bathroom and kitchen.

“It was so different to home, mainly older men were staying there, I think there just one other lady. I just kept to myself and hung out in my room.”

Field, who will make her second appearance for the Indigenous All Stars on Saturday, gave up everything to become a Rabbitoh.

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And when it finally happened, it was better than she dared dream.

“It was incredible, one of the best experiences of my life. The team was very welcoming, the staff were amazing, Dean Widders taught me so much even in just one year,” Field said.

“The first time I put it on (the jersey), I had most of my family down here, they all came down and they were as excited as I was, maybe more. My whole body was tingling. I couldn’t believe it , I was pretty much in shock the whole game but I couldn’t take the smile off my face.

“It was better than my dreams, because I’m quite a shy person. I don’t really put myself out there and they made me feel comfortable enough to get out of my own bubble.

“I got along with all the girls, and even making the big move they made me feel like I was family.

“It made everything a lot easier, knowing I could reach out to them. It made it so much easier because I was literally by myself, I had nobody else to speak to.”

Eventually, Field had to head home. COVID-related border closures made her lengthy trips home impossible, but her career continued with the North Queensland Gold Stars.

Field earns second Indigenous All Stars cap

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Four years after making her Indigenous All Stars debut, Field will represent her people and culture for the second time on Saturday.

According to All Stars coach Ben Jeffries, who coaches Field as part of North Queensland’s pathways, it’s a matter of when, not if, Field begins playing NRLW.

“She can be unassuming, but she’s tough as nails. You might look out there and see that she’s 70 kilos wringing wet, but she’s got some go in her, that kid.

“We’re on the brink of NRLW, we’re just waiting for the league to give us a tick. You’ll see her in that environment as soon as we get that tick.”

Field is eager to take the next step up. But she hopes she never has to choose between Souths and the Cowboys because the call of the Rabbitohs is still so strong.

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