Whether its rugby sevens or rugby league, the last year has been a stellar one on the field for Lauren Clarke.
The Armidale local enjoyed a superb rugby sevens season in the New England competition, winning a premiership with Robb College and claiming the club's coach's award as well as the women's achievement award.
After being asked by a friend to play for Boggabri in Group 4's nines tournament, she tried her hand at rugby league as well.
Clarke was named in Group 4's squad for the Greater Northern Championships and played in the back row.
Although Group 4 didn't score points or win a game, Clarke's consistency and non-stop effort caught the eye of selectors and she was named in the Greater Northern squad for the inaugural women's Country Championships.
"I was already very surprised when I got selected for the Group 4 team, I did not think that I had any chance of making the Greater Northern Tigers squad," she said.
"I was very surprised when they called my name out as part of the squad. I had never played league 13s before so my plan was to just play my hardest with my team."
Her experience on the rugby league field was limited to the lone nines competition and Clarke admitted she wasn't sure what to expect.
The short, sharp bursts of fitness required in sevens set her up for the longer format of league but she enjoys both sports for their differences.
"I had never played league before and I was already somewhat new to rugby as well," Clarke said.
"I love it! It is definitely a bit of a different game to play. I found it less tough physically. I have found rugby sevens very intense in regards to the fitness required, also playing a forward position, I am constantly tackling.
"At least in league 13s there are a few more forwards to help out and I can have a bit of a breather when marking in league, where as in rugby sevens, it never stops.
"I was impressed with my fitness after the first game on Saturday, I was expecting it to be way more intense."
Both codes have experienced a recent push for women's involvement with higher honours and potential careers on offer.
"It is amazing, there are so many more opportunities for women to get involved. There is an obvious push for women’s sport," Clarke said.
"This competition is an excellent gateway for women who want to try to play at that higher level.
"There are also rugby union trials coming up to play in the country sevens competition. That is another excellent opportunity for women to get their foot in the door if they are serious about making a career out of it."
The first round of the Country Championships is in Coffs Harbour on March 9 with the second round in Armidale on March 16.