Inaugural Country Women's team to be named
Women across Regional New South Wales will have the opportunity to experience one of rugby league’s oldest rivalries when the first Country Women’s team is selected to take on City in May.
In an exciting joint-initiative from Country and New South Wales Rugby League, the first female intrastate clash will provide a unique pathway and opportunity for regional players to experience representative football.
With almost 50% of all nationally registered female players playing in CRL tackle and tag competitions and the recent success of CRL Women’s Nines competitions held in Newcastle, Illawarra, Dubbo, Group 21 and the North West; CRL Women’s Participation Officer and former Jillaroo Kylie Hilder believes there has never been a better time for regional players to be involved in the game.
“The women’s game has taken significant steps forward this season with the introduction of the NSWRL Tarsha Gale Cup and CRL Women’s Nines and selecting the first Country Women’s team to play City is another opportunity to move forward,” said Hilder.
“The CRL Women’s Nines have allowed us to create a pathway for females outside the established Sydney Metro and Illawarra Women’s competitions to sample the tackle version of the game and the success of these inaugural competitions has proven there is a strong appetite for the game.
“Selecting a Country Women’s team allows us to offer our players in the CRL Nines, Canberra, Illawarra and Sydney Metro (Berkeley Vale Panthers and North Newcastle) competitions an opportunity to play representative football.”
The Country Women’s team will select 25 players for their train-on squad, which will be trimmed to 18 players prior to the match against City. Players will be selected from upcoming trial matches between Canberra and Illawarra (Saturday, 26th May in Batemans Bay) and pre-season Sydney Metro competition matches involving the Berkeley Vale Panthers and North Newcastle. Players from recently completed CRL Women’s Nines competitions will also be available for selection.
“Our selectors have kept a close eye on the Nines competitions and have identified a number of talented players who are a chance of making the inaugural Country side,” said Hilder.
The Country Women’s team will be coached by North Newcastle Coach Mick Young, who is also the husband of Indigenous Women’s All Stars Captain Rebecca Young.