U/16 Girls Ready to Jump Into First State Experience
This weekend, for the first time the Rugby League Affiliated States Championships will include an U/16 girls division.
The newly formed division will be competed between Murdi Paaki, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
The competition is a major boost for Rugby League in the affiliated states as it has created a clear pathway and opportunity for girls to represent their state.
Victorian coach Ben Jack was glowing of how quickly his girls have adapted to the game and adjusted to the required level.
“It’s been pretty good, for a lot of them it’s their first Rugby League experience let alone their first state experience”
“Most of them have really jumped into it, they’ve learnt a lot of skills in such a short space of time, so it’s been really good for them” he said.
Jack pointed out 14-year-old Akosita Siolaa as one to keep a close eye on at the Championships.
The Melton product who is still eligible for the U16 division for the 2018 and 2019 campaigns will be someone who hugely benefits from the introduction of the competition.
“She’s been very impressive, I think she’ll go very well in this tournament,” her coach said.
Jack also pointed out halves Ally Rawiri and Grace Naleba as standouts thus far on the training track.
Waverley’s Helen Naleba is also someone who boasts a skill set that will be a weapon for Ben Jack’s side.
“She’s very aggressive and very powerful in her running techniques, she’ll cause some damage,” he said.
And while Jack does believe his Victorian team are a realistic chance at winning the title he stressed the importance of the bigger picture.
“Most importantly we need girls coming back, to continue playing in this 16s side or graduating through to the women’s”
“It’s a really great initiative by CAS championships and NRL Victoria, hopefully we can one day get some Jillaroos,” he said.
The competitions kicks off this Friday the 23rd of June in Port Adelaide