DISAPPOINTMENT has been replaced with butterflies for Simone Smith ahead of her NRLW Holden Women's Premiership debut for the Sydney Roosters.
Smith will line up at halfback for the Roosters in Saturday's clash with Brisbane at AAMI Park.
She was named on coach Rick Stone's extended bench for the opening round, but wasn't required in the tricolours' 16-12 loss to the Warriors last Saturday.
After a couple of hiccups along the way, the former Port City Breakers Group 3 ladies league tag star now gets her chance to make an impression at the top level.
"It's finally happening and almost feels too good to be true," Smith said.
While it would have been easy to get negative after missing out on round one, Smith admits it was her positive reaction to the disappointment that played the biggest role.
"Even if you get knocked back like I did last week, I think that's the one thing a coach looks at," Smith said.
"They don't look at the people they've picked, they look at the people not named and how they react to that.
"The coach told me the way I handled not being selected was full credit to me for staying positive."
The 26-year-old former Jillaroo admitted circumstances had also played a role in her not taking the field, but she was comfortable to bide her time.
And it was only a matter of time before an opportunity presented itself.
"Leading into the pre-season and over the last couple of weeks at training and with uni commitments I was away for a whole week of training," she said.
"Given I hadn't been training as much as some of the other girls and with the dynamic of the team structure I thought it was only fair if I sat it out last week."
Bouncing back from setbacks has become something Smith has had to become accustomed to in recent years after having an 18-month period where everything she touched turned to gold.
Then the rugby league gods decided a reality check was required, injuries started to occur and the mental battles started to happen.
"I don't think I give myself enough credit sometimes to know where I've been and where I am now," she said.
Now, the Kempsey product was looking forward to taking her opportunity with both hands and steering the Roosters back into the winner's circle.
But that doesn't mean there aren't a few butterflies.
"I'm in the squad for a reason," she said.
"Rick and a lot of the other girls in the team have belief in me and that's the thing ... I've got to believe in myself and do what I do best and that's play my natural game.
"I was very nervous when I got the news I was playing, but after training on Wednesday and having a yarn to a few of my support network, everyone has the belief in me and that's the important thing.
"It's good being nervous because it means it means something."
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