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Warriors fullback Apii Nicholls.

As a new constable for the New Zealand Police, Apii Nicholls bravely walks the beat in South Auckland. For the geographically uninitiated, it's definitely no walk in the park.

But it's not half as "challenging" - as the Warriors fullback more eloquently describes her beloved day job - as the off-duty wander she will take around Sydney on Saturday morning.

"It's something I've always struggled with," Nicholls said of the pre-match butterflies that are certain to multiply ahead of the Warriors' historic NRL Holden Women's Premiership opener against the Roosters at ANZ Stadium later on Saturday.

"It always happens on the morning of the game, I wake up and just start feeling really nervous. So I go for a walk and that helps me relax."

It's little wonder the 25-year-old needs to settle her stomach given her giddy ride to rugby league stardom. Born in Rarotonga, she's represented the Cook Islands in tag and sevens and when she was coaxed to try league by Kiwi Ferns legend Sarina Clark (nee Fiso), she figured the tough contact and extra game time would be good for her sevens prospects.

"I never thought I'd play league to be honest. I never really enjoyed watching it either, I was more of a rugby [union] girl," Nicholls admits.

Wednesdays Our Way

"Like every other sport I played before league, it was just something I enjoyed doing but I never really took it [sevens] to a serious level because playing for the Cook Islands we don't really get that opportunity, financially. We got free trips and I like helping people so if you ask me to do something [like the Cooks Islands' rugby call to arms], I'll do it."

Fast-forward little more than 12 months after being asked to give league a crack and Nicholls is the reigning New Zealand Rugby League women's player of the year after being fast-tracked into the Kiwi Ferns for last year's World Cup after just one inter-provincial campaign with Counties-Manukau.

"I've been very lucky. I guess if you give me a task, I'll work hard to do my best."

Like being handed the goal-kicking duties for the Warriors first pre-season hit-out against Auckland ahead of the their Women's NRL game against the Knights in early August, a 32-4 win in which Nicholls contributed 12 points including a late try.

"We had no kickers so Tammy, our kicking coach, she pretty much pulled me out and gave me that opportunity and taught me a couple of lessons before that game on how to do goal-kicking," Nicholls said.

"I think I did a pretty good job [converting four of six tries]. I use to play soccer when I was little so I guess that gave me a little advantage."

So let's get this straight. You weren't a league player little more than a year ago, much less a goal-kicker, and now here you are playing the game semi-professionally. No wonder you want to go walkabout.

"It wasn't my dream at all," Nicholls said.

NRLW Roosters v Warriors - Round 1

"I'm just grateful to be living someone else's dream today because I never really thought I'd be here. I'm really honoured to be playing alongside some of our stars who have played league for a long time."

Nicholls knows the new Women's NRL is a huge opportunity but as with her police work, she is already selflessly looking ahead, even though she's only 25 and barely has her knees grubby in terms of her league career.

"I think it's good for our young ones because I never really got that opportunity when I was in school, so it's good that there's something for their future," she said.

Chances are those following in the sprig marks of Nicholls will learn the calming properties of a pre-match walk too."

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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