Georgia Ravics battled through adversity to make her Sharks debut

Georgia Ravics of the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks. Sharks

When Georgia Ravics arrived with her Cronulla Sharks teammates at the airport in North Queensland ahead of their clash with the Cowboys, she thought she could hear someone yelling her name.

"My first thought was, who could this person be, I don't know anyone in Townsville," said Ravics.

It was her mum.

Ravics' parents live in Hervey Bay and after finding out her flight details, decided to make the drive to North Queensland and surprise their daughter.

"I wasn't expecting them to be able to get there because flights were ridiculous and I knew they would come down to a game in Sydney, which is easier to get to," said Ravics.

"I was completely caught off guard and was really emotional.

"Then to see them at the game with the biggest smiles on their faces, it was amazing to have them there."

After sitting on the sidelines for a couple of weeks waiting for her opportunity, Ravics felt ready to make her debut against the Cowboys.

"I waited for my turn and was so ready for the opportunity when it came to me because I had done all the work," said Ravics.

"I went out there with a point to prove and to show that I deserved to be there.

"I loved it."

A try on debut was also a fitting reward for Ravics who has had some setbacks in her relatively short rugby league career.

After playing a variety of sports growing up including AFL, Ravics started playing rugby league in 2021 after seeing an opportunity to do a pre-season with the North Sydney Bears. After completing pre-season Ravics got a contract with the Bears for the Harvey Norman Women's Premiership.

"I made my debut in the May and in my first game with them, I did my ACL," said Ravics.

"I did my ACL and fell over and pushing myself just to get up so I ended up playing another 15 minutes before the coach pulled me off.

"It was only after the physio saw my X-ray the next day that I was told to get an MRI immediately."

Ravics went through a challenging and long rehab journey and then had an opportunity to play one more time with the Bears for their final game of the season.

Then she caught COVID-19.

"I woke up on game day and I was so unwell and I didn't want to make any of my teammates so unwell close to finals," said Ravics.

"I wasn't able to play that game, hadn't played enough games to feature for finals and that season was basically a write off."

During this period, Ravics has also built a strong bond with Holli Wheeler, who had also rehabbed a similar injury and played alongside Ravics in the Harvey Norman Women's Premiership.

"Holli and I both live in the Northern Beaches and she was very present in my ACL recovery journey through COVID," said Ravics.

"My knee was in a brace and it was an emotional rollercoaster, but to have her around was unreal because she knew what I was going through.

"Having her support was amazing and I'm so grateful to have her friendship."

Ravics is relishing her opportunity with the Sharks, but it's fair to say that when it comes to rugby league her heart is in two places.

Since 2021, Ravics has worked at the Bulldogs as their Head of Retail.

After the disrupted season with the Bears, Ravics moved across to the Bulldogs to play in their Harvey Norman Women's Team.

Whilst the Bulldogs and Sharks might be rival clubs, Ravics has had nothing but support from her workplace.

"The last couple of years has just been 100 percent footy in all my life," said Ravics.

"The Bulldogs have been my biggest supporters and I can't thank them enough for how much they have helped.

"When I was named in the Sharks team, they put my photo all around the office and we had Sharks balloons, it was unreal to be in a Shark takeover for the day."

The Bulldogs don't have an NRLW team right now, but there is a clear strategy to build and focus on the pathways.

Other clubs that have had this focus like the Sharks and the Wests Tigers have come into the NRLW with a group of players that are connected both on and off the footy field. This has worked to the clubs' benefit and Ravics is hoping that when the time is right, the same will happen for the Bulldogs.

"The Bulldogs have put in a lot of work to rebuild their full pathway program and they are on track to do what they need to do in preparation for an NRLW team," said Ravics.

"I have a two year deal with the Sharks and I am completely committed to that, but it's great to see the Bulldogs investing in that space."