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National Schoolgirl Cup provides new NRLW pathway

The revamped National Schoolgirl Cup has kicked off for 2024, with talented young players from across the nation hoping to take the next step in their rugby league development.

One player who has made the most of the playing pathway on offer is Maleala Su'a, who captained Mabel Park to a 26-8 win over The Hills Sports High School at Allianz Stadium to take out the inaugural National Schoolgirls Cup national title last year. The team had earlier defeated Kirwan State High School 38-0 to take out the Queensland Schoolgirls Cup to earn their opportunity to claim national honours.

It's been a big 12 months for Su’a who has since joined the top 24 squad for the Gold Coast Titans and also played nine games with the Souths Logan Magpies in the open women’s BMD Premiership.

Earlier this week, the versatile talent who has spent time playing in the forwards and in the halves, was also named in Queensland’s Under 19 State of Origin team.

“The National Schoolgirl Cup is a top-level elite competition for the schoolgirls to mirror the schoolboys competition and gives an opportunity for them to play in a higher level competition,” the NRL’s Queensland school participation co-ordinator Jesse Naumann said.

“A lot of these girls are getting signed to NRLW clubs now as well, so it gives them a schoolgirl pathway of progression.

“Maleala, she's definitely a standout player who has come from Mabel Park and is part of the Titans squad, so shows that there’s a realistic pathway for girls coming through the competition to the NRLW.”

Keilee Joseph is a former Mabel Park student and was there to present last year.
Keilee Joseph is a former Mabel Park student and was there to present last year. ©NRL Images

The National Schoolgirls competition is now in its third year, but in 2024, it has been revamped to accommodate a growth in participating teams, with schools divided into three pools by region.

“This year we've made a proper structure of the competition and formed the schools into pools and we've got more schools involved in the competition,” Naumann said.

“We have more in Central Queensland … and more from North Queensland involved as well.

“It's only the third year of the Schoolgirl Cup, but it will be the second year of it being (truly) 'national'. Last year was our first national final, which was taken out by Mabel Park, who are one of the Pool A teams this year. They played The Hills Sports High, who were the winners from New South Wales.

“I say it's the third year of the competition because we did have a schoolgirls competition in 2022, but it only went as far as the Queensland final, we didn't get to a national final, so it's the third year for us, but only the second year including a national final.”

This year, Queensland's National Schoolgirl Cup Pool A (SEQ) is supported by the Gold Coast Titans who will provide support for the schools and match officials.

To celebrate the start of the competition this year, the Titans held a special launch of Pool A schools at the Titans High Performance Centre during an NRLW training session.

Coach Karyn Murphy and captain Georgia Hale met with the girls who also received a tour of the club’s training facilities.

Unlike the 9-a-side Karyn Murphy Cup which provides its own development goals, the National Schoolgirls Cup competition is a full 13-a-side contest that gives players the opportunity to experience elite schools rugby league and play at a high standard in a different style of game.

The Queensland participating pools:

Pool A

  • Mabel Park SHS – current National Schoolgirl Cup champions
  • Marsden SHS
  • Ipswich SHS
  • Keebra Park SHS
  • St James College – new to the competition in 2024

Pool B

  • No nominations in 2024, but goal to expand into Brisbane North, Sunshine Coast, Darling Downs and into the South West.

Pool C

  • Rockhampton Grammar School
  • Emmaus College, Rockhampton
  • Shalom Catholic College, Bundaberg
  • The Cathedral College, Rockhampton

Pool D

  • Trinity Bay SHS
  • Kirwan SHS
  • St Patrick's College, Mackay
  • Mackay SHS

National Schoolgirls Cup structure (Queensland)

Five rounds including a semi finals and grand final

  • Winner of Pool A goes straight to Queensland final on August 29 at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
  • Winners of Pool C (Central Queensland) and Pool D (North Queensland) play off, with the winner going through to Queensland final to play the Pool A winner.
  • The Queensland Final winner goes to National Final to play NSW / Victoria winner on September 11 at Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast.

The full draw for all Schoolgirls and Schoolboys fixtures can be found at PlayRugbyLeague. All round games will be live-streamed on

2024 Schoolgirl Cup - Ipswich SHS v Mabel Park SHS

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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