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Inaugural schoolgirls team ready to make history

A new chapter in women’s rugby league will be written on Wednesday night with an inaugural under 18 Queensland Schoolgirls team running out to represent their state on one of rugby league’s biggest nights.

The Queensland 16-18 years state team, selected following the recent state championships in May, will play against a combined New South Wales / ACT side as the curtain raiser to the 2022 State of Origin series decider at Suncorp Stadium.

Coach Veronica White (QRP # 12) is no stranger to interstate rivalry, having represented Queensland in the past and said it was an exciting development in the game.

"This is the inaugural Queensland Under 18s Schoolgirls rep team," White said.

“When we think about what is taking place, it's the 50th anniversary of the Schoolboys Rugby League ... so it's taken a long time to make it to this stage. 

“As part of the women's rugby league pathway, schoolgirls rugby league is going to play an enormous role in meeting the objectives which the women's game now demands.

“The girls are pretty honoured and they are pretty proud of the fact they have been given the opportunity, and they are pretty excited at the moment.

“They are stoked, they are switched on and they are a good bunch of girls."

The squad, which also has fellow QRP #75 Deanna Turner on staff, entered camp on Saturday and took part in a tour of Suncorp Stadium on Monday to familiarise themselves with the venue.

The players have a few more special points to come, with Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons coach Tahnee Norris one of the former Queensland players set to come in to address the girls.

While the players have been receiving some history lessons about the game while in camp, White was hoping her squad would be able to fully soak in the experience in the present moment, knowing they were doing their bit to help grow the game into the future.

“Because it is the first team, they came together and did some group work to talk about their aims and their purpose as to why they are here and what kind of values they would make and what are the expectations of the team … that was a pretty good exercise and they really invested in it, which was great," White said.

“They are part of a legacy, and they don’t sort of understand it yet, but they are pioneers for sport in this era; I have said to them a couple times, you probably don’t know, you probably aren’t aware that you are creating history here and starting a tradition, and I want them to understand that.

“A few years down the track, they will realise what contribution they have made at the schoolgirls level."

The side will be captained by Lillian Yarrow, who recently was part of the Queensland Under 19 women’s squad, with Tavarna Papalii the vice captain.

The interstate match will also serve as an Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League selection trial. 

Kick-off is at 5.45pm at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday, July 13.

The match is also set to be livestreamed at the Queensland School Sport Rugby League Facebook page.

Queensland 16-18 years state schoolgirls squad

Luca Howarth (Emmaus College Rockhampton)
Reina Hosea (Ipswich Girls Grammar)
Mariah Brown (St Saviours College Toowoomba)
Fleur Ginn (Canterbury College)
Ebony Raftstrand-Smith (Keebra Park SHS)
Sienna Lofipo (Marsden SHS)
Skyla Adams (Keebra Park SHS)
Lillian Yarrow (Emmaus College Rockhampton)
Marissa Nicholson (Gympie SHS)
Eliza Lopamaua (Woodridge SHS)
Shaylee Joseph (Mabel Park SHS)
Tavarna Papalii (Keebra Park SHS)
Tiresa Elika (Ipswich SHS)
Aerielle Hobbler (Mareeba SHS)
Theophelia Mosby-Nona (Kirwan SHS)
India Seeto (Marsden SHS)
Malaela Su'a (Mabel Park SHS)
Nancy Sullivan (Nambour State College)
Montaya Hudson (Marsden SHS)

Coach: Veronica White

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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