Kiwi who always wanted to play for NZ finally gets chance

Published date24 June 2022
Publication titleBay of Plenty Times
Six years ago, Turner lined up for the Australian sevens team at the Rio Olympics — winning a gold medal at the event. This weekend, the 38-year-old centre will make her debut for the Kiwi Ferns when they run out at Mt Smart Stadium against Tonga; a moment Turner never thought she would get to experience

Growing up in Tokoroa, Turner was involved across the three main rugby codes — league, union and touch. But at 20, she moved to Australia for a fresh start.

“My sister was living over there at the time and I had a few family members who just wanted a change. I wasn’t really doing much over here in New Zealand and thought the change would do me good,” she said.

Early on, Turner was invited into camp with the Jillaroos, Australia’s national league team, but she didn’t stay there long and felt her opportunities for representative football might be limited by the fact she was from a different country.

But after a few years based across the Tasman, Turner was invited into the national sevens camp, before debuting for Australia in 2013.

“I took my opportunity and decided to run with it. I wanted to see where it would take me, and I was fortunate enough to travel the world and go to the Olympics. The rest is history, really.”

Turner played her final game for the Australian sevens team in 2016, before returning to high-level league in 2019, playing for Queensland in State of Origin and claiming an NRLW title with the Brisbane Broncos.

While she missed the 2022 NRLW season, she was in fine form in 2021, representing the Māori All Stars and performing well in the centres with the Broncos.

Her comeback to the 13-a-side game caught the attention of the New Zealand...

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