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Rugby League Ipswich are paving the way for the next generation of female stars, as they today launch their Under 12 Girls program.

As part of a five-year plan to strengthen the female game in the region, the free program will kick off this afternoon – Tuesday, August 9 – at Redbank, with girls aged between 10 and 12 to go through a Tackle Ready session, skills, drills and games of tag.

This will continue over the next five weeks, with the games of tag developing into tackle, before wrapping up on September 6 with an afternoon of matches at North Ipswich Reserve, where Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons coach Tahnee Norris will be in attendance.

Robyn Tyler, Ipswich’s female committee chair and a member of the SEQ Female Committee, said this program was designed to not only develop the skills of young girls across Ipswich, but prepare them for a better future in the game.

With girls generally playing mixed rugby league up until the age of 12, Tyler said this program would help them move beyond those junior years and into the pathways of the female game.

“It’s designed to introduce young ladies into the sport of rugby league as well as improve the skills of our under 12s that are in the game and help them transition into the under 14 female competition,” Tyler said.

“About a year ago we put in place the Female Game Development Committee. The idea of that is just to increase participation in the girls’ game within Ipswich.

“We thought the under 12s would be a great place to start to build the base of our pyramid. After that age group they go into the female-only competition.

“I’d like to think this program shows a pathway for our young ladies to play football at whatever level they would like to play and be involved however they’d like to be involved, whether that’s playing or being a sports trainer, coach or manager.

“It shows that dedication from Rugby League Ipswich to be able to grow both the male and female space in Ipswich.”

The launch of the Under 12 Girls program is part of RLI’s five-year plan, with a view of developing the female talent in their own backyard before helping promote their players into region-wide competitions once they reach the end of their junior years for “better development and competition”.

By 2024 RLI want to have a standalone under 12s Ipswich competition with a minimum of six teams and have that extend to under 13s or 14s by 2025.

By 2026 they then want to have a minimum of six teams in the current SEQ girls’ competition, for under 15s and under 17s.

Tyler said this five-year plan is the league’s “guiding light”. 

“We put that together and obviously there is more detail that needs to be developed in that plan,” Tyler said.

“But that’s our guiding light for the next few years.

“The committee itself has put it together. We also did a Female Athlete Education day in February (this year) and we’re planning to do another one in the next off-season, probably in February again.

“We’re looking to provide that support for coaches, sport trainers, managers, anyone working in that female space.”

Registrations are still open for RLI’s Under 12 Girls program.

To register, click here.

For more information, visit the Rugby League Ipswich Facebook.

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