The exploding popularity of female rugby league was showcased a Redcliffe’s Dolphin Stadium last Wednesday (August 29) as rising schoolgirls players took part in the Karyn Murphy Cup finals.
With teams coming from areas as spread out as Thursday Island to the north and Keebra to the south – the diversity of the finals participants highlighted the continuing growth of female participation – a result in many ways of the improved female pathways that have been made available.
Tagai State College (which situated on Thursday Island, beyond the tip of Cape York) epitomised this growth, with the participants taking part in a 2100km trip to be involved in the finals of the competition at Redcliffe.
Opportunities like the Karyn Murphy Cup have given schoolgirls the chance to try their hand at league – some for the first time – and has seen a massive rise in schools taking part in these competitions.
The statewide, nine-a-side competition was first introduced last year with more than 170 teams across four age divisions taking part; and this year it has only gotten bigger, with more than 230 teams registering to be involved.
This year, girls played under the watchful eyes of Jillaroos coach Brad Donald, Senior Manager – Women’s Elite Program Tiffany Slater and NRL Head of Football – Participation Brian Canavan who were there to witness the next generation of female stars.
Karyn Murphy was also in attendance as well as fellow former Jillaroo and Queensland representative Jo Barrett, with both on hand to assist with the presentations after a full day of fantastic rugby league.
The Queensland State Karyn Murphy Cup Champions for 2018 are:
Year 5 / 6: Frenchville SHS
Year 7 / 8: Mabel Park SHS
Year 9 / 10: Mabel Park SHS
Year 11 / 12: Keebra Park SHS
All Photos: Stu Allen for NRL Development