Western Region Rugby League will launch its inaugural 13-a-side women’s tackle competition this month, incorporating district teams from Group 11, Group 10, Woodbridge Cup and Castlereagh-Barwon areas.
And World-Cup winning Jillaroo and Cronulla Shark player Talesha Quinn from Parkes couldn’t be more excited for her female footy counterparts.
“It’s so amazing off the back of our World Cup win that there's so many more opportunities for girls to get involved, especially out there in the country,” Quinn said.
“I can’t wait to see the game grow and to have more young girls coming through.”
The four team competition is set to kick-off on the last weekend in February and finish with a grand final in mid-April.
Teams will play each other twice in a home and away format. Underneath each open women's 13-a-side competition there will be an under 18s 9-a-side division.
The new ladies league format was given the green light by Western Region delegates in December following a proposal from the newly formed Western Women's Rugby League (WWRL) committee. The WWRL is charged with driving female full contact competitions in Western NSW.
Quinn is a big advocate of women’s rugby league and visited schools all across Cronulla to promote the 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup prior to the competition kicking off in November last year.
“I'm helping out where I can with the NRL at school visits and come and try days. Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to come back out to the country more this year and promote the game and the country girls smashing it out,” she said.
Quinn believes the new western competition will mean so much to country athletes.
“It will finally be an opportunity for us country kids to get a look in, there are so many talented kids out in the country who just don’t get seen, or given the opportunity for various reasons,” she said.
“So I’m so excited to see the females carve up.”
And without hesitation, Quinn said she’d 100 per cent sign up.
“I would have loved this opportunity to play league when I was still living there, touch football was it for me because even league tag wasn’t around,” she said.
“Parkes and the western area has a huge fan base for rugby league so hopefully everyone gets on the back of the girls and offers plenty of support.”
Trangie-based chairperson Melinda Gleeson will head the WWRL committee.
“Following the Jillaroos success in the Rugby League World Cup and the NRL announcement regarding its ladies competition, there is a need and demand for a genuine pathway for women and girls to play rugby league in Western NSW,” Gleeson said.
“The committee agreed that a four team structure under the banner of each Group would provide a solid foundation to establish a strong competition, a competition that will underpin the growth of ladies and girls Rugby League in the Western Region.”
Quinn’s advice to women considering on signing up for the competition was “give it a crack”!
“It might be daunting at the start but it’s the most amazing game you’ll ever play,” she said.
“The friendships you gain, the skills you learn are invaluable. And you get to travel around the country playing the sport you love.
“Just take a chance. You wont regret it!
“Rugby league has honestly changed my life, I live and breathe it everyday. Don't be afraid to take chances or risks.
“The game is growing bigger every year, we only need more females to come take that chance.”
A final draw for the competition has been released and teams have kicked off their training.