Thursday, August 24, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Queensland Rugby League’s girl of the moment Emily Bella is still the same athlete from Mackay with dreams of playing in the NRLW series.
The talented playmaker captured the imagination of the sporting public earlier this month when she figured prominently in the Maroons’ Under 19 Girls Origin triumph over NSW at Redcliffe’s Kayo Stadium.
A cousin of former Queensland and Kangaroos Test prop Martin Bella, young Emily is already following in the steps of her famous relative who was renowned for his punishing defence and bulldozing runs.
Blooded in her debut Origin clash as an interchange hooker, the versatile Bella played a key role in Queensland’s spirited 20-14 victory over the Under 19 Blues – nabbing a vital solo try and booting two goals to cap a superb display.
With the Maroons trailing 10-4 at the break, Queensland coach Deanna Turner introduced the crafty Bella into the match at the 36th minute mark.
And the Mackay Cutters product made a huge impact after quicksilver fullback Destiny Mino-Sinapati dashed over to score for the Maroons and bridge the gap to two points.
It was Emily’s explosive running from dummy half that turned the match for Queensland – bursting through tackles to post the Maroons third try and convert for a 14-10 lead before instigating another for centre and Cutters’ club mate Libby Surha soon after.
Coach Turner was full of praise for her charges, claiming “they just kept on turning up for each other and delivered in the second half.”
The victory over NSW is a career highlight and she experienced the feat with her Mackay colleagues Libby Surha and Lily Peacock.
19-year-old Emily, a graduate of St Patrick’s College Mackay, has always shown enormous potential as a half back or five eighth with organisational skills.
She played her junior rugby league with the Sarina Crocodiles and Walkerston Wanderers and tuned up for the Under 19s Origin with some A Grade matches for the Brothers club.
During her rise through the Cutters’ junior ranks, Bella has always been a strong defender with a sound kicking game and the ability to steer her team around the park.
She represented Queensland Country Under 17s before forcing her way into the Cutters’ Harvey Norman Under 19s squad these past three seasons.
Growing up, Emily was always inspired by her cousin Martin’s achievements that include 21 State of Origins, nine tests and 235 first grade games.
A broken finger prevented Emily from featuring in Mackay’s BMD Women’s premiership campaign earlier this year but the classy half has an immediate goal – to earn an NRLW contract with the North Queensland Cowboys.
As a devoted Cowboys supporter, she would love nothing more than to pull on a navy, grey, yellow and white jumper and mix it with the best players in the Queensland women’s ranks.
By Chris Karas
Talented Mackay Cutters trio Libby Surha, Emily Bella and Lily Peacock hold the Under 19s Women’s Origin shield aloft after helping Queensland defeat NSW at Kayo Stadium
Emily Bella celebrates her U/19s Origin triumph with her mother Shaunagh and members of the Bella family clan