Debut: vs York City Knights 18/4/21
Winger Tara Moxon joined Leeds Rhinos Women in 2021 and was handed the number two shirt for her debut season.
Moxon signed with the club having spent one season at Wakefield Trinity Ladies, where she impressed enough in her first year in the Women’s Super League to earn herself a call up to the England Knights squad. On joining the Rhinos, who are coached by England Knight’s head coach Lois Forsell, she debuted against York City Knights and scored a try in the 68-16 win. She backed that up a week later by scoring against Featherstone Rovers in round two and also crossed the try line in her first Challenge Cup appearance in Leeds colours. As the league season continued into July, the winger came into her own, scoring four tries to help the Rhinos dominate Warrington Wolves 56-0 and along with her centre partner Fran Goldthorp, the two added two tries each against Wigan Warriors Women in the Rhinos’ final match of the regular season.
Moxon grew up in East New Britain in Papua New Guinea, who’s national sport is rugby league, and was first introduced to the sport when she was around five years-old as she watched the Blues vs Maroons in the State of Origin series. In the small agricultural village of Keravet, she recalls watching the likes of Darren Lockyer and her biggest rugby influence Cameron Smith on a small TV hanging on the wall and the atmosphere being electric.
With no opportunities to play rugby in PNG, after she’d moved to the UK with her family, Moxon first played rugby while she was studying at the University of Lincoln. She played full back in her first game of rugby union, which is her most memorable rugby moment, and later joined Barnsley Ladies, where she continued to play the 15-player code and won the Yorkshire County. In 2019, she switched codes and played for Wakefield Trinity Ladies, who finished in eighth in their debut Women’s Super League season.
Sport runs in her family too. Her father is a black belt in Karate, played rugby in his younger years and continues to play football, tennis, golf, squash and fish. Both her sisters like the gym and play rugby union too, while her mum played a lot of basketball. They all love to swim too, which stems from Moxon’s childhood in the Pacific Islands.
Outside of rugby, Moxon works as a relationships and sexual health education and child sexual exploitation support worker while also studying a masters degree in research in Evolution and Ecology. Her greatest achievement comes from her job, when she added race to the sex ed curriculum, so children in that area could be taught how race/racism can affect relationships and sexual health. Commenting on the achievement, she said: “It fills me with immense pride knowing that I contributed to something that myself and my friends needed when we were growing up, and that other young people don’t have to grow up without that knowledge”. She works part time as a medic in the army and also is a mental health ambassador for Rugby League Cares.
Her hobbies include painting portraits (which she sometimes sells ands does commissions for people that like her art) as well as outdoor swimming, hiking and exploring new places. She also plays uke and previously participated in badminton competitions, climbed, played golf and has also kayaked since I was 14 years old.
When asked if she’d recommend rugby to girls, Moxon said: “We live in a world where it’s easy for women to feel vulnerable and weak and with body image issues. Rugby throws all that out the window and shows us that we are capable of so much more, it shows us how strong we are. No matter what body type a woman has, she has a place on the pitch whether it be a hooker, wing or prop. Every body type has a function. It’s also loads of fun!”
Her biggest female inspiration too is 23 time Grand Slam Champion tennis player Serena Williams, with Moxon saying: “She’s just unreal. She’s strong, successful, and unapologetically herself. The way she handles adversity in her sport is with such grace, it makes me feel strong and inspires me to do the same whenever I experience adversity. She was the first female athlete of colour that I was exposed to, and there’s something really powerful in that. When I saw her as a kid I unconsciously thought ‘Serena looks like me, and if she can do it, so can I’. I felt ‘seen’ and sport opened up to me, competitively. I want to do the same for others, that Serena has done for me.”