Life & Culture

NRLW 2022: Parramatta Eels, Jocephy Daniels, how culture and footy shaped Parramatta recruit’s life

Ahead of the rescheduled NRL Telstra Women’s Championship, NRL.com offers a glimpse at the next batch of talent ready to make their mark in 2022.

rookie shot

  • Name: Joseph Daniels
  • Age: 24
  • NRLW Club: Eels
  • Position: Center

Parramatta recruit Jocephy Daniels was just hours away from signing the Dragons for their inaugural season in 2018 when she received unexpected news that would change her life forever.

The disability support worker was about to agree to an agreement with the Dragons after affecting the Mounties at the Harvey Norman NSW Premier before finding out she was nine weeks pregnant with her first child on the same day.

It capped a significant year for the New Zealand-born center, who had moved to Australia months earlier in an attempt to escape a harsh upbringing in southern Auckland.

“I grew up in poverty with a single mother and my brother,” Daniels told NRL.com.

“I was making a lot of wrong choices like drinking every weekend and missing school.

“I didn’t care and would blame my childhood for all my future actions.”


Daniels’ double cross in City win

Daniels turned out two things that put her back on the right track; Its culture and league mark.

“I was young and skinny, so I wasn’t too interested in rugby, but the label kept me out of trouble,” she said.

“I also started learning about my Maori cultural background and became involved in Kappa Hakka.”

Daniels traveled to Canada and Hawaii through a cultural school program to showcase their Polynesian heritage and cultural identity through singing and dancing.

“It was amazing and it opened my eyes that there are other things in the world,” she said.

“I took a step back and thought I didn’t want to go down a bad path anymore. I want a career and be a role model for my family.”


Hakka Maori Women

Daniels moved to western Sydney when her then-partner signed Montez.

She played for an entire year in the state competition before the Dragon showed interest.

“It was bittersweet because that was one of my dreams, but then it was a blessing in disguise, I have a beautiful son,” she said.

“I put my priorities in check and put everything on hold.”

After two years of trying to get back to proper fitness and performance levels, Daniels is ready to make her mark as one of the 13 potential players for the Eels’ NRLW squad.

Along with an outstanding comeback season for the Mounties, Daniels scored two NSW township bids in 2021 to remind the selectors of her potential.

“Do you know when you’re present but don’t listen properly when someone is talking to you? That’s how I felt when I got a call from the Ells family,” Daniels said.

“I became emotional, I am a very emotional person. My heart was filled with gratitude for being noticed again and the hard work was paying off.


An unreal year awaits Women’s Rugby League

“I talk a lot but at that moment I was speechless. I expect a different kind of challenge.”

Daniels also has her eyes set on earning a Maori All-Stars debut on February 12 after he was recently named to the extended team.

“I am familiar with Maori culture, so I want to help share that with girls in Australia to give them other perspectives,” she said.

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