All Girls Challenge and Titans Schoolgirl Challenge wrap
WHILE the Australian Jillaroos have only recently been crowned world champions, the Queensland Women's Rugby League team has achieved unprecedented success with 14 consecutive Origin titles.
To ensure that that kind of dominance can continue, Queensland will look to the next generation of girls playing rugby league; and this year shapes up as the biggest and brightest year for the girls rugby league.
The schoolgirls season is yet to get under way, but that has not stopped school girls of all ages throughout Brisbane and the Gold Coast lacing on the boots and having a hit out at a series of development activities over the past week.
Friday, May 2 saw high school teams from across the South East converge on Merrimac State High School for the Titans School Girl Challenge.
Across three age groups, teams from as far north as Beenleigh played out a round robin competition, but it was not just about the schools competing.
While some schools were able to field teams across multiple age groups, players from as far away as Ipswich jumped at the chance to play and formed a number of Barbarian teams.
The Barbarians proved dominant, taking out the Opens competition and making the finals in the Under 16 division.
Much like any other school carnival, there was some exceptional raw talent on display: speed, sidesteps, deft passes and the occasional cracker of a hit brought cheers from the crowd.
But there was something else – sportsmanship. Rarely does one get to see an exchanging of hugs between players after an infringement: a clear case that the day was more about the game than the outcome.
With the schoolgirl challenge completed, Saturday, May 3 saw the All Girls Club Challenge conducted with clubs as far away as Caboolture and Ipswich competing at Bishop Park.
Joining the clubs were Gold Coast teams selected from the previous day’s Titans School Girl Challenge. In conjunction with the Under 14s nines competition, skills clinics were run for Under 10 girls from all clubs.
In total, five clubs and two high schools were represented alongside the combined Gold Coast teams. For the Waterford club however, nine a side was not enough.
“We've got 26 girls competing today, so two teams,” a coach at the Waterford Demons Priscilla Hotereni said.
“We jump at the chance to play in competitions like this. We'd like to see more. These girls love their rugby league and they love playing together.”
With enthusiasm for girls rugby league at an all-time high in both schools and clubs, more competitions such as these, and greater pathways into the women's competitions held throughout the state, will ensure that at the representative level, Queensland and Australia continue to be a force.
See more photos from the All Girls Challenge and Clinic at the Queensland Women’s Rugby League Facebook page.