Danika Priim: We are unbeatable!
Danika Priim, 32, is a dual code rugby international, with immense talent. Danika began playing rugby union at university, but really got stuck in to the sport after joining West Park Leeds in 2012. Having found success in Union, Priim transitioned to playing Rugby League for both Stanningly and more recently Bradford Bulls, where her and her teammates have enjoyed immense success. Danika's rapid development didn't stop at club level having been called up to play for England in 2015 making 5 Caps since her international debut. I was keen to catch up with Danika to discuss her rugby experiences and her hopes for Women's Rugby in the future.
1) What positions do you play in across both codes?
"In rugby union, last season I played second row or number 8 (I much prefer 8) and in league I play prop."
2. What first got you into Rugby?
"My older brother was the biggest influence initially. Having 3 brothers, I had no option but to join in with their games. There wasn't much around for girls at that time so I stopped at age 12 due to me only playing for my school. I then thought it would be a good way to get involved socially at university and there my love for it grew more."
3. How has Bradford's season gone so far?
"At Bradford we are doing really well, currently unbeaten and we also won the Challenge Cup final a few weeks ago. We have moved into the women's Super league set up and kept our unbeaten streak! I Hope to continue that into the Grand Final in October!"
4. Who has been Bradford's toughest opponents and why?
" I think it has to be Thatto Heath or Featherstone. We met Featherstone in the Final and they create tough opposition in the forward pack and its tough to fight your way down the middle of the pitch. However, Thatto have been unbeaten for the previous couple of seasons so to come up against them was both a physical and mental battle. They have a good forward pack and a really skillful back line, they also had the added confidence due to being reigning champions, so we had to keep composed and play our own game but luckily came out with the win against them 3 times including the Challenge Cup semi-final on a very hot Sunday afternoon!"
5. Describe your best experiences playing for the National Team.
" Aside from the phone call to say you're selected and the time I was selected to start this year (which are moments I can consider as the best moments), I think in October 2016 when we flew to France and played them as a curtain raiser before the men's game. Personally, it was where I finally believed I was good enough to be in the squad and it was also a really good squad performance with the added bonus of a great crowd along with some of my biggest rugby idols watching us including Sam Burgess. Every single time I have the opportunity to put on an England shirt it is special, it is genuinely a real honour and each game and each shirt have their own special moments or memories!
6. Which one of your Bradford Team-mates would love their own reality TV show?
"Well there could be a number of them that do! If you want entertainment, I'd definitely follow Shona Hoyle around for a day or two but if you want comedy and camaraderie, it would have to be the team clown Kirsty Moroney.... She loves a good prank or winding up others!! "
7. Which one of your Bradford team mates is the last person you want to get on the wrong side of?
"That's a tough question! I have seen a couple of them get angry haha! But I wouldn't like to get on the wrong side of either Debbie Smith or Amy Hardcastle.... have you seen her run through people?!"
8. Where do you hope to see ladies rugby in the next 5 years?
" Well women's rugby is definitely growing. In five years I would love for the girls who are playing to be on professional contracts but in reality, the competition is limited so until that develops i'm not sure that will happen so soon. The next best option for me would just be to attract bigger crowds. Playing with so many supporters at the Challenge Cup final made such a huge difference to the game and made the girls feel valued and special. Playing at bigger venues or even as curtain raisers to the men would just raise the profile a little and increase the interest. The World Cup in Australia this year is played in line with the men's at an NRL stadium in Sydney with the Final being played as a double header with the men's in Brisbane... that in itself is a great achievement!
So really, just bigger crowds! You totally underestimate the power and influence they have and it gives you a little more drive and determination - especially when you might need a pick me up!! Again, maybe a little cliche again but I'll play rugby until my body gives in - which might not be that far away so the support is a massive one for me!!"
Thank you for taking the time out to speak to GRM! We wish you every success with your playing Career!