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NRLW Players: Rikeya Horne

At just 23-years of age and entering her sixth season in the NRLW, Rikeya Horne is considered one of the ‘veterans’ of the game.

The Shellharbour-born back joins Wests Tigers after playing two seasons with the Eels and three with the Dragons.

“I’m still only 23 so to be considered a veteran is pretty crazy,” said Horne.

“It’s my sixth season in the NRLW and I’ve been there from the start, so I know what is going to be ahead of us, and I’m keen to help out in any way I can.

Horne didn’t grow up with rugby league. Like many young girls, netball was her first love.

A switch of high schools influenced her decision to give footy a go with her local side Corrimal Cougars, before making her way into the Dragons system with the Under 18s Tarsha Gale side.

“I used to watch the NRL all the time with my dad,” said Horne.

When I moved high schools to Illawarra Sports High, they played a lot of rugby league and union so that’s where it started.

Rikeya Horne

2018 was an exciting year for Horne.  She made her debut for the Dragons in the inaugural NRLW competition, played for the Australian Jillaroos at the Commonwealth Championships, as well as representing NSW City.  All this, as an 18-year-old.

“I was still a baby. I didn’t have much knowledge and experience, so it was a little daunting and scary,” she said.

“The girls really helped me out being the youngest in the team, so it was really exciting to be surrounded by such talented players being so young.”

She says it felt like an easy decision to sign with Wests Tigers in April this year.

“I had heard such good things about the club, and when I found out that Brett Kimmorley was the coach, I really wanted to be coached by him because he’s such an experienced former player,” Horne said.

My first tour of the club was overwhelming with the facilities and things I have never experienced before.

Rikeya Horne

“I have learnt so much already, more than what I’ve learnt in the NRLW, and I know more is to come.”

Horne is one of a handful of players in the side with a significant amount of NRLW experience, joining a squad which has a wealth of West Tigers' experience.

“You can see that all the girls are so close with each other, so it has been really easy to slide in and feel welcomed,” said Horne.

The combinations are already there so that I think plays in our favour.

Rikeya Horne

“We’ve got so many rookies in our team this year as well so I would love to be able to help them because I know it’s going to be a mentally and physically challenging season.”

Horne is excited for the season ahead and continuing her NRLW journey.

“I just want to develop as a player and person on and off the field,” she said.

“I need to take everything in from Brett (Kimmorley) and the coaching staff to work on my game so I can play my part in helping the team.”

Wests Tigers will play their first game in the NRLW against Parramatta Eels on Sunday 23rd July at CommBank Stadium. 

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