KAITLAN Leaney reckons there's little excuse for family and friends to miss her upcoming Super W campaign.
Leaney, now living in Maryland and playing for the Hunter Wildfires, originally hails from Coffs Harbour where the national women's competition will predominately be held for 2021.
The 20-year-old was officially unveiled in the NSW squad on Tuesday and the Waratahs have round games against the Western Force and ACT Brumbies at C.ex Coffs International Stadium later this month followed by a potential final on July 3.
Her parents, both sets of grandparents, younger sister, plus aunties and uncles still reside within striking distance of the north coast venue, providing a unique chance to have wholesale support in the grandstands.
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"It's a good opportunity to have my family and friends there," Leaney told the Newcastle Herald.
"It's so surreal. It's my first season playing Super W and when I found out it was going to be in Coffs Harbour I just thought 'what are the chances'.
"So it better be a good excuse if some one can't come, because it's just down the road and they don't have to travel anywhere."
Leaney has played at the ground once before, but prior to recent renovations as part of a schools sevens tournament.
Her introduction to rugby was going to watch older brother Declan, who now lines up for Shute Shield side Randwick.
She later switched codes from netball and "hasn't looked back" - donning the uniform of local clubs SCU Marlins and the Coffs Harbour Snappers.
Leaney moved south in 2020 to study PE teaching at the University of Newcastle and signed up for the Wildfires, who debuted in the Jack Scott Cup.
It was her first taste of 15-a-side and she gained the attention of NSW coach Campbell Aitken, who asked her to train with the Waratahs in Sydney earlier this year.
The second-rower continued to impress and has a shot at the big time.
"I'm super excited. It was a lot of travel and a big commitment but it was all worth it," she said.
Super W has "always been a goal" for Leaney.
"Ever since I started playing rugby I watched the Super W. I've probably watched every game twice. So it was always a goal of mine to play for the Waratahs. My next goal is a green and gold jersey, but just one step at a time," she said.
Title holders NSW travel to meet Queensland in the season opener at Bottomley Park on June 19.
The Waratahs squad also includes Wildfires inside centre Ashleigh Walker as well as Katrina Barker (Warringah), Layne Morgan, Maya Stewart and Nicole Nathan (Easts).
Hunter trio Susannah Cook (Brumbies), Ashley Masters, Janita Kareta (Melbourne Rebels) are elsewhere in Super W.
The newly introduced President's XV is expected to feature several players from the current Wildfires group.
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