THE meteoric rise of Stingrays of Shellharbour's Teagan Berry shows no signs of slowing down after she was named to make her NRLW debut this Saturday for the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Last month, both Berry and her coach Daniel Lacey labelled the 2020 season as one for 'development' for the Illawarra Steelers speedster.
However, on the back of the 18-year-old's hard work and the Red V's mounting injury toll, Berry will get her chance against the New Zealand Warriors at ANZ Stadium.
"In the sheds after the loss, Lace [Daniel Lacey] came up to Maddison Weatherall (who's played four matches) and I and said 'I hope you girls are ready because you're playing next week'," Berry said.
"I was speechless, as this opportunity came a lot quicker than I thought it would.
"It was on this trip home that the exciting news started to sink in, as everyone was really quiet after the loss.
"It gave me a moment to reflect on all the time and effort I've put in over the past few years to get this opportunity and I can't wait to get out there."
Berry, after messaging her sister Olivia on the way back to Shellharbour, was swamped by her family when she got home.
"As soon as I got home, mum [Nicole] was overwhelmed and gave me the biggest hug," Berry said.
"They were all so happy for me and know how much I've gone through to get this chance.
"It's been a big journey for us all and now they can't wait to watch me play on television."
As well as coach Lacey and her family, Berry knows how influential her Dragons teammates have been over the past few weeks.
"All the older girls in the squad have been amazing, telling me to always back my ability," she said.
"I don't always play with confidence but to know they believe in me is massive - that positive belief really helps.
"They've also helped improve my game by empowering me to play more eyes up footy.
"There's no one better to learn off than these girls and I've cherished every moment I've spent with them."
As excited as the outside back, who will start from the four-person bench on Saturday, is for this chance, she is only worried about one thing and that's winning.
"I speak for all the girls playing this weekend in saying we want to win for both Lace but all our injured teammates and finish the season on a high - it's been a really difficult season for everyone," she said.
"From a personal point of view, I want to produce a strong performance in my role - run hard, get in positions to be dangerous and be prepared to do whatever it takes to win.
"I can't wait to get out there and show why I deserve this chance, which I hope it just the next step on my rugby league journey."
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