Changing the Face of Rugby League

The sport is continuing to grow in popularity with three women's teams set for the upcoming season, all based in the Central Highlands.

Clermont Bears player Rheenie Devine is one of the driving forces behind the expansion of the sport in the region.

She says there has been a women's team in the past but a growth in local teams means less travel for players.

"It's growing so much just because girls don't have to commit as much," she says.

"When we were travelling to Gladstone we had to commit to a whole day just to play a 40 minute game but now the interest just keeps on growing and it's looking really good for the year."

She says they're still trying to change the attitudes of some men.

"Some of them still think it's a boy's game but then when they watch it they do enjoy it," she says.

"It's growing all the clubs because it's doubling the amount of supporters, as well as girls tend to help on the committee too which is encouraging."

She says some of the players do get nervous before their first game and have concerns about the rough side of rugby.

"That's why we play the safe code," says Rheenie.

"It just helps with head highs and the contact so that reassures a lot of the girls."

Rheenie says this season there's a female team representing the Clermont Bears, the Emerald Tigers and the Middlemount Panthers.

"A lot of people are surprised by how good the games are so that's how we get a lot of our girls; they happen to watch one of our games and then get really keen to play," says Rheenie.

"You have some girls and you don't expect them to play the aggressive side of it but as soon as they're on the field, it turns into a proper football game."

Rheenie says she hopes there'll eventually be a women's team for every men's team in the region.

To find out more about the Clermont Bears, head to their facebook page.

WRITTEN BY: ALICE ROBERTS (ABC)




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