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'We have to keep growing': Rockhampton's push for female rugby league

Rockhampton Rugby League knows the job is far from done when it comes to female rugby league, despite growing numbers in the region.

Female participation has been the fastest growing area of rugby league in recent years, with scores of girls signing on to try their hand at the game.

But despite this success, Rockhampton Rugby League’s football operations manager Warren Heilig will not take his foot off the accelerator any time soon, as he continues to push strategies to encourage more females to sign up.

On Saturday, March 5, a “come and try” day will be held at North Rockhampton’s Elizabeth Park and Heilig said while participation rates were solid, he was always determined to do better.

“We’re producing a lot of talent out here,” Heilig said.

“But we can always grow. If we can get bigger and better, then that’s what we want to do.

“We’ve done a couple of little things like this before but the thing is, whenever you’re trying to do something like this, you want to make sure you’re doing it right. We have to keep growing the female game.

“If you don’t get more heavily involved, you’ll lose out.”

Information flyer for Rockhampton Rugby League's "Come and Try" day.
Information flyer for Rockhampton Rugby League's "Come and Try" day.

Heilig said the day would feature the opportunity to do skills, drills and trial games, as well as meet more experienced players and coaches from various clubs.

He also hopes the success of Rockhampton product and Brisbane Broncos and Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons fullback Tamika Upton will encourage more girls in the area to sign up.

“She’s a shining light of what any girl from anywhere can achieve,” Heilig said.

“We’ll take anybody and everybody who wants to play, but the 13s, 14s and 17s are a big push for us at the moment.

“I’ll keep pushing and pushing for female rugby league as far as I possibly can.”

Meanwhile, Rugby League Ipswich - with support from QRL South East - hosted an education day for working with female athletes on Sunday, February 20.

More than 40 volunteers from across the southeast attended to learn about the difference in male and female mindsets, cultural considerations, the impact of the menstrual cycle and more.

Guest speakers included Paul Brown, Carmen Taplin, Georgia Brown, Brendan Thompson – who spoke about concussions – and Veronica White, who not only facilitated the day, but provided some amazing insight from her playing days.

Gold Coast Titans NRLW sports scientist Georgia Brown with Rugby League Ipswich board director, Steve Brown.
Gold Coast Titans NRLW sports scientist Georgia Brown with Rugby League Ipswich board director, Steve Brown.

There was also an opportunity for young players and coaches to learn from Rugby League Ipswich board director and Jets development manager Steve Brown.

Rugby League Ipswich said the feedback from the day had all been incredibly positive and they were hopeful they could host more female-specific workshops in the future.

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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