Wollongong feels like home for new Dragon Maddie Studdon

HOMECOMING: NSW halfback and former Helensburgh Tigerlilly Maddie Studdon will return to where it all began with the Dragons this NRLW season. Picture: NRL Photos
HOMECOMING: NSW halfback and former Helensburgh Tigerlilly Maddie Studdon will return to where it all began with the Dragons this NRLW season. Picture: NRL Photos

SHE'S a proud Mascot girl but Maddie Studdon's switch to the Dragons for the upcoming NRLW season feels like a homecoming.

Having begun her career with Helensburgh at just 16, Studdon has skippered her state to an Origin series win and been a regular at Test level for the Jillaroos.

She was a hot tip to play for the Dragons last season only to link with the Roosters but forging a bond with Dragons coach Daniel Lacey while in City camp was enough to bring her south.

"To be with the Dragons this year is very exciting," Studdon said.

"It doesn't feel like I'm coming here for the first time, it feels like I'm back where it started. Daniel Lacey's done a great job recruiting all of us and at training there's been a really good vibe.

"Everyone's getting along and we all have the same goal which is winning a premiership. We know what we need to do to do that.

"The team is really good so good things should happen, we just need to stay focused and not look outside the circle too much."

Last season proved a roller coaster one for Studdon, who captained NSW to victory in the first ever women's State of Origin clash.

It made her one of the faces of the women's game, but it came with pressures that showed in her maiden NRLW campaign with the Roosters.

It saw her surrender her Jillaroos jumper at season's end but, after a star turn in this year's Origin, she's confident she can carry her form through the NRLW campaign.

"There were a lot of highs and lows last year and at the end of the year I wasn't in my best form," Studdon said.

"You've really got to be on your toes at in your best form at the elite level. I didn't perform at the Roosters to get selected for the Jillaroos.

"I've had a fresh start this year, I'm really enjoying my footy again. I think I'm feeling more calm out there, focusing on my game without putting too much pressure on myself.

"Last year there was a lot of expectation and pressure, we didn't really know what to expect for the first season of NRLW.

"This year we're a bit more switched on, we all know what's coming at us and with my game I'm just taking it step by step."

This story Wollongong feels like home for new Dragon Studdon first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.