With the dawn of a new season on the horizon it means the start of some sophomore seasons for last season’s rookies. With that we took the chance to speak with a few of them to find out their thoughts on joining the team incase you’re still on the fence about joining! Next up it’s the turn of #88 Defensive Back, Nicola Bennett.
Nicola joined the team one Wednesday night practice and never looked back. She is currently the only female member of the team but that doesn’t hold her back at all!
Q: What were your first impressions of the team and how were they changed through the year?
A: First impressions were quite daunting. I rocked up to Garthdee with my football boots and gum-shield not knowing what to expect. A lot of the team are over 6' and that's before they are in full kit! I very quickly discovered that the energy at practice and games is electric and totally addictive. And as much they wouldn't like to admit it, they are all gentle giants and a more supportive bunch you couldn't ask to play alongside.
Q: What piece of advice would you give to someone thinking about coming along to the rookie sessions this November?
A: Do it! Don't just think about it and don't worry about being out of your depth or not getting along with the team. Everyone has to start somewhere, you won't be out of your depth at all. Ultimately everyone wants to succeed as a team and as an individual - there is always support there when you need it!
Q: What was your favourite thing about being a Roughneck?
A: The camaraderie and being part of a history-making Roughneck side. There's no getting away from the fact that we had a few doubters and a lot of negativity thrown in our direction. The grit, determination and togetherness that comes with being part of the team and the atmosphere is amazing.
Q: What are your aims for this season?
A: I want to build on the skills I gained last season at linebacker and make the occasional start on Defence and Special Teams.
Q: What made you want to join the team?
A: I love American Football, being active and being part of a team. It isn't underselling it to say that you get out of being a Roughneck what you put in. It is a million times better than I could have imagined.
Q: When you joined the team you were the only female member, How did you find that?
From day one I was treated with nothing but respect. They were maybe slightly on the gentle side with me at first, until I proved I was just as hardy - if not hardier - than some of the men. And now I honestly don't think anyone notices that I am a woman. Once you're on the field and in kit you are quite simply a Roughneck. There's no singling out and I wouldn't have it any other way. We are all on the same team and all there to do our respective jobs. That makes it even easier for me.
Q: Finally - and most importantly - what song did you sing for your rookie initiation?
A: The West Ham Anthem - “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”