Lonergan dreams big following QAS selection
Haylea Lonergan’s dream of playing Rugby League in Australian colours has become more of a reality following her selection in a new initiative for young and upcoming female players.
Lonergan is one of 21 girls selected in the inaugural Female Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) Under 15’s squad, announced recently by the Queensland Rugby League.
Watching older brother Jack play footy around the Central Highlands for years inspired Lonergan to lace up the boots and play for the Middlemount Panthers Under 7’s in 2009.
Developing throughout the years, Lonergan’s breakout season was in 2014 with the Middlemount Under 12’s, winning the Central Highlands Player of the Year.
Further improving her footy in 2016, Lonergan was not only selected in the CQ Capras Under 14’s team but also in the Central Crows Under 14’s program and this success led her to be awarded the Central Highlands Under 14’s Girls Representative Player of the Year.
Speaking about her selection in the newly formed squad, Lonergan says she is looking forward to the experience with her hope in the future to play in Australian colours.
“I can’t wait to be part of the QAS Under 15’s to make new friends with other girls from across the state and learn more about footy,” Lonergan said.
“It’s a great feeling to have made the squad and I am looking forward to going into camp on the Gold Coast in January.”
“My future goal would be to play for Australia.”
Central Highlands Female Participation Coordinator Terri Weatherley says Lonergan’s selection into the QAS squad is well deserved after a dedicated season of Rugby League and believes she is a player to watch out for in the future.
"Haylea has demonstrated her athletic skill, strength, love and passion for the game this season, excelling in her Capras and Crows representative duties, to earn her the call-up to the inaugural QAS squad," said Weatherley.
"This is an amazing feat and is a great achievement to be recognised and identified as a player to be watched in the future."
"I strongly believe that one day we will be cheering her on in the green and gold, proving that no matter where you come from, determination will get you anywhere."
The QRL’s three Divisions – South East, Central and Northern – have all provided players to the squad, which will be put through its paces at the Gold Coast’s Super Sports Centre from January 5-8.
Participants will receive expert coaching and guidance from a range of experienced coaches and mentors, in line with the program’s aim to develop highly-skilled and motivated players for future Queensland representation.
The selected players have already had a small taste of the new development opportunities available in the game after taking part in the 2016 QRL Junior State Championships, where an Under 14 girls competition was included for the first time alongside the Under 16s.
Central Division Female Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) Squad Members
- Skye Houliston (Hervey Bay)
- Aria Hudson (Rockhampton)
- Ashleigh Isaacs (Toowoomba)
- Haylea Lonergan (Central Highlands)
- Mariesha Orr (Sunshine Coast)
- Abelee Stanley-Bosen (Toowoomba)
- Loretta Viani (Sunshine Coast)