PNG pair embracing exciting challenge with Ipswich club
VICKY Ara'a and Brenda Tau admit being away from family for the next three months will be difficult.
But the two Papua New Guinea international cricketers are embracing the opportunity presented to them by linking up with the Ipswich/Logan Hornets for the Katherine Raymont Shield season.
"It's a great experience,” Tau said.
"When I was told I was selected for a scholarship, it was unexpected.
"But I realised it was a blessing - an opportunity, so I grabbed it.”
Port Moresby-based Ara'a impressed with the ball in her Hornets debut on Sunday, taking on the brunt of the team's bowling attack and recording 3-35 including three maidens.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Tau is from Hanuabada - a large coastal village on the outskirts of Port Moresby.
She ceded the gloves to Hornets regular Kira Holmes at the weekend, and faced just four balls before being trapped LBW coming in at number seven.
Hornets coach Wayne Bichel said both were instrumental in the field as the Hornets fell to a 49-run defeat to Valleys.
Tau admitted it took "time to fit in”, and the "cold” weather when she arrived in Brisbane a few weeks ago took some getting used to. But with winter in the rear-view and her teammates being "really open and friendly”, the transition became much smoother.
When asked how she felt in preparing to come up against some of the best female cricketers in Australia, Tau proved she did not lack in self-confidence.
"To me, they play cricket and so do I,” she said.
"The game is in the crease. I'm here to play and here to learn, but I don't care if they're better than me. We'll see.”
Tau said her first impression of Brisbane was "a big culture change” - it included getting lose in the city and trying to navigate the train system.
But she and Ara'a are soaking up every moment.
"There's a lot of things to learn, but we'll take all of those things to our friends back home,” Tau said.
"I've learnt a lot, about what you have to do to be an opening batsman, and about what your role is in a team.
"We're not just here to enjoy the place. It's for us to take what we learn back to PNG so we can teach our teammates and those who love cricket, so we can build cricket in PNG.”
Tau's start in cricket came in 2013. But she has been a lover of the bat and ball game for much longer.
"Ever since I was a small kid, I've loved watching cricket - watching Australian players like Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Shane Watson, Jason Gillespie . . . I was always in front of the TV,” she said.
Softly-spoken off-spinner Ara'a hopes to impress with the ball during her Hornets stint, and take all the advice she can in improving her batting technique.
"I'm really happy to be here, and I can't wait to learn more about batting and lift my skills,” she said.
"I will take the opportunities that come, and take it back to PNG and teach the other girls.”