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Atherton, Innisfail to face off in NRL touch league decider

Atherton Roosters will meet Innisfail Leprechauns in the inaugural Cairns District Rugby League Women's NRL League Touch competition grand final this Sunday, June 30 at Barlow Park Cairns.

After 11 rounds, Atherton are currently sitting at the top of the ladder tied with Innisfail on 18 points.

The league touch format of the game has primarily been introduced as a pre-and-post season option, but a pilot of was played 'in-season' in the CDRL to introduce females to the game. 

The rules are aligned to the contact version of the game, so it looks and feels more like rugby league than traditional touch football. 

There are 11 players on the field with a marker; tap off after a try is scored; defenders stand back not less than seven metres; attacking players can't initiate a touch; play-on if the ball is knocked back; kicks in play; markers and the dummy half can score and get touched. 

Sunday's grand final is shaping up to be an even match-up as since the season started at the end of March, Atherton have won all their games except to Innisfail, while Innisfail have had eight wins, no losses and a draw with Tully and Edmonton.

Innisfail Leprechauns ladies touch league team who will face Atherton in the grand final at Barlow Park Photo: Maria Girgenti
Innisfail Leprechauns ladies touch league team who will face Atherton in the grand final at Barlow Park Photo: Maria Girgenti

Last time both teams met in the third round Innisfail defeated Atherton 1-0.

Atherton coach Natasha Clark said as the team goes into the final, they were confident they could get the win if they kept their errors low.

Clark added that the girls had worked consistently hard at training which was showing with great results on the scoreboard.

The coach said it was a huge game for the girls who were keen to achieve the desired result and were excited to be playing in the grand final.

"I'm extremely proud of the Atherton ladies' commitment to the club and community, as well as them encouraging young women to become involved in a great sport," Clark said. 

Women's touch league action in the round three game between Innisfail v Atherton at Callendar Park Photo: Maria Girgenti
Women's touch league action in the round three game between Innisfail v Atherton at Callendar Park Photo: Maria Girgenti

Innisfail coach Lisa Sue San said the players were excited to be part of the first Innisfail Leprechauns women's touch league competition.

Sue San said the team was made up of a number of experienced players from multicultural backgrounds and sporting experiences who are able to promote women in sport in the community.

"As we take the field this Sunday at Barlow Park, the home of Northern Pride we hope to inspire many others to follow a wonderful game of rugby league," Sue San said. 

Innisfail women's team wished to thank sponsors Mamu Health Service Limited, as well as all their supporters and families. 

Innisfail's Lisa Sue San is tagged by an Atherton player when the teams met back in round three at Callendar Park Photo: Maria Girgenti
Innisfail's Lisa Sue San is tagged by an Atherton player when the teams met back in round three at Callendar Park Photo: Maria Girgenti

The women's grand final kicks-off at 3pm following the Intrust Super Cup clash between Northern Pride v PNG Hunters.

Main image - Atherton Roosters ladies touch team:

Back L-R: Karlee Robinson, Miki Bradley, Danielle Jensen, Jess Conole, Tiarni Potts, Kaydee Chatfield, Kourtney Joseph, Arika Butler, Gemma Twidale, Latitia Barlow-Briggs, Amy Wright, Racheal Bond and Kristina McNamara

Front L-R: Chloe Hartley, Charlsty Suthers, Mary Morossi, Chloe Hammond, Catherine Clark, Natashia Clark, Merwez Jia-Whaleboat, Elyssa Clark, Sharee Andrews and Sarah Clark