CARRIE Roberts hopes to have as big an impact for women’s rugby league as she has in war torn Afghanistan.
For the Sergeant played a role in making sure the nation can move on by helping train its police force.
The member of the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers served twice in the warzone to combat the Taliban.
Now she could form part of the front line as England hope to go all the way in the Autumn’s World Cup while her experiences still echo.
Sgt Roberts, who grew up in St Helens, who she now plays for, recalled: “I grew as a person and going away and seeing other countries makes me feel more privileged. There were people there who’d do anything for a pair of shoes.
“On my second tour in 2017, I went out and worked with the Afghan National Police women.
“We spent 12 weeks with them, teaching them basic first aid, how to fire a weapon, strip and search techniques. That gave them the confidence to be able to use it within their role.
“When I first went, I was 20-years-old and to be honest I didn’t really understand the full concept of why I was there.
“It made me think, ‘Look how privileged we are.’ I came back appreciating just the little things in life.”
Sgt Roberts, who hopes to be promoted to Staff Sergeant in April, represented the Army at boxing and rugby union while playing for Saracens then Bristol.
However, the 31-year-old switched codes to play rugby league for local side Thatto Heath Crusaders and the Army.
It was playing for the military against Super League York in 2019’s Challenge Shield that she caught the eye of England boss Craig Richards, who looks set to include her in his squad for this year’s tournament.
And much of his approach will come from a link up with men’s coach Shaun Wane, including his brutal honesty.
Richards, whose side can train as it has secured elite sport status, said: “I’ll try and tap into him as much as possible.
“All the England coaches have a regular catch up and you present your ideas for your program.
“With Shaun you get some really honest feedback, just from online meetings he’s changed one or two things.
“And if you want to play for England, just pick up the phone if you’re unsure and get some direct feedback but expect real honesty. I watch every game and know every player.”
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