Many great female rugby league stars began their footy careers in Central Queensland.
Women's representative players in years gone by - Casey Watkins, Tegan Rolfe, Carly Bell, Chelsea Baker and Mariah Storch - are just a few names who started in the rugby league heartland; in current crop of talent, high-flying fullback Tamika Upton went to school in Blackwater and Emerald.
To unearth and continue developing female talent in this rugby league-rich area of the state, Queensland Rugby League - in conjunction with BHP - is hosting a free female development clinic on Saturday in Emerald.
The aim is to grow the next generation of Maroons stars.
First visiting Central Highlands for the inaugural clinic last year, 2021 series-winning Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons players Brianna Clark and Shaniah Power will return, alongside coach Tahnee Norris.
"I'm really keen to see the talent coming through the region... we already have so many country players in the Maroons pathways and I can’t wait to see what else is coming through," Norris said.
"Clinics like this one are really important because it’s a great chance for female players to see their idols in the game, who have all come from the country regions.
"You don’t have to be from the city to play for Queensland and Bri and Shaniah are a great example of that."
Central Queensland Capras coach Amanda Ohl and retiring captain Chelsea Baker will also be in attendance to identify talent ahead of the 2022 BHP Premiership and Harvey Norman Under 19 seasons.
BHP corporate affairs manager Melita Shirley said they were proud to partner with QRL to help continue to grow female talent in Central Queensland.
"BHP is proud to support women’s rugby league in Queensland and create opportunities for females to chase their dreams of playing for the Maroons,” Shirley said.
"As a company, we are actively striving to achieve gender balance globally by 2025 and our continued investment in women's rugby league in Queensland is a reflection of our aim to continue improving female representation.
"We know how much of a rugby league heartland Central Queensland is and with it being the home of our nine BHP sites in Queensland, we are excited to partner with Queensland Rugby League to bring Tahnee and a number of Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons players to Emerald to help grow the next generation of female stars."
The development clinic is open for females aged 13 and over and begins at 9.30am on Saturday, October 16 at McIndoe Park, Emerald.