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NRLW Players: Christian Pio

Wests Tigers were well ahead of other teams in ‘offloads’ after the opening couple of rounds this season, and still leading the way is the ‘offload queen’, Christian Pio.

Heading into the penultimate game of the regular NRLW season against the Broncos, Christian Pio (17) tops the chart for offloads, closely followed by teammate Najvada George (13).

For reference, there a couple of players who are next best on the offload leaderboard, including Roosters star, Isabelle Kelly (11).

The 23-year-old prop says she enjoys the increased involvement when playing as a middle forward.

“This is where I want to grow as a player, in the middle,” said Pio.

It’s a really important role we play and if we’re not working hard in the middle, others can’t do their jobs.

Christian Pio

“Offloading comes naturally for me and it helps keep the opposition on the back foot.”

Pio looking to offload against the Roosters
Pio looking to offload against the Roosters

Pio began her junior football as a 15-year-old with St Claire Comets before progressing to the Penrith Panthers Tarsha Gale side, winning a title in her first season.

She bounced around Harvey Norman sides Brothers Penrith and St Mary’s before COVID, landing at Wests Tigers in 2021.

Pio with a powerful carry against the Cowboys
Pio with a powerful carry against the Cowboys

The tireless forward was instrumental in Wests Tigers 2022 Harvey Norman Premiership victory, playing the full match. 

Her work ethic soon drew attention, and she was rewarded with the opportunity to play NRLW for Parramatta Eels in the two seasons last year.

Pio popular after Round 1 win over Parramatta Eels
Pio popular after Round 1 win over Parramatta Eels

As one of the senior members of Wests Tigers inaugural NRLW squad, Pio is comfortable playing a leadership role.

“There have been a few cases where some of the young girls have been pretty nervous and I’ve helped ease their nerves,” she said.

“I just remind them that once you’re out there, there’s no time to worry about the outside noise.”

A product of Wests Tigers’ pathways, Christian is astonished by how far the female game has come.

“When I started playing, I didn’t think there was anything going forward,” she said.

I think it’s awesome that Wests Tigers now have a clear pathway to the top.

Christian Pio

“It gives young girls something to aim for knowing the end result could be playing in the NRLW.”

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