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Rubys and Sapphires ready to shine at national championships

The future stars of women’s rugby league will be on show in this week’s Harvey Norman National Championships at Moreton Daily Stadium, with the exciting addition of a under 19 draw to the tournament.

Some of the state's young guns will be on show across two teams, with Queensland Rubys and Queensland Sapphires both competing in the inaugural contest.

The two squads gathered at Rugby League Central Queensland headquarters on Wednesday morning and were presented with their jerseys by Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons and women’s rugby league legend Steph Hancock, who wished them luck for the tournament.

For Queensland Rubys coach Roy Leoni, the tournament was just another opportunity that was opening up to female players.

“I think it’s great, especially this year with the induction of the Harvey Norman 19s at that under 19 levels, it’s now giving these girls an opportunity to play at a representative level from that age," Leoni said. 

“I think it bodes well for Queensland as a whole with these girls now getting their hands into another tournament where they can put their best foot forward and get the likes of Tahnee (Norris) and those guys at that Queensland level an opportunity to have a look at them now at a younger age.

“That pathways now starting younger … it’s creating pathways for those girls now to be able to play almost all the way through into a representative level competition, so it’s been really good.”

As well as playing to take out the title with their teams, players will also be pushing their case for selection in the Queensland Under 19 State of Origin team and play as the curtain-raiser to the State of Origin match featuring the Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons.

Queensland Sapphires coach Gavin Lloyd said there was a lot of talent to choose from, with many players also gaining valuable experience in recent weeks in the BHP Premiership competition.

“In the BHP Premiership at the moment, there are a lot of girls who played in the (Harvey Norman) Under 19 competition, so there’s a definite pathway and I think they’ll be better for it,” Lloyd said.

“I think it’s going to be a really high standard the 19s side that Queensland produces, so with the 19s pathway and the BHP Premiership combined … it’s put the girls in good stead and I’m actually surprised how well, how fast the girls’ game has gone forward so it’s only a good thing.”

The Sapphires will be the first Queensland team in action in the tournament, facing off against Western Australian at 1pm.

Their match will be followed by the Queensland Rubys v South Australia match at 2pm.

Find out more about the Harvey Norman National Championships here.

Updated Queensland Under 19 squads

Queensland Sapphires

Jasmine Peters, Tiamo Williams, Emmanita Paki, Sera Koroi, Faith Tutauha, Jada Ferguson, Courtney Tamati, Ebony Laing, Destiny Brill, Jayda Lofipo, Makenzie Weale, Keilee Joseph, Hannah Larsson, Oshanis Whakatau, Nakita Sao, Tamzin Taumafai, Hannah Sorensen, Emmogen Taumafai, Fiona Jahnke, Baylee Davies. Coach: Gavin Lloyd

Queensland Rubys

Traevonnah Fisher, Clarissa Baira, Tyesha Mikaio, Liantre Simon-Anderson, Sierra Maple, Jetaya Faifua, Courtney-Lee Nolan, Jordii Mahendrarajah, Chelsea Campbell, April Ngatupuna, Sara Sautia, Zoe Cook, Tiana Raftstrand-Smith, Maddison Riedy-Brown, Layne Northey, Georgina Tuitaalili, Indee Brown, Jazmon Tupou-Witchman, Skye Girard, Jayda Lole. Coach: Roy Leoni

Main image: Under 19 and BHP Premiership players Sara Sautia and April Ngatupuna both feature in the Queensland Rubys squad for the Harvey Norman National Championships. Photo: Vanessa Hafner / QRL

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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