Hastings League’s first-ever ladies senior representative team heads to Muswellbrook this weekend when the Country Rugby League northern selection trials take place on Saturday.
The team members are Nakita Binge, Melissa Norup, Jacana Ward, Dianne Lawrence, Shanene Matthews, Larissa Ward, Ashleigh Kemp, Tayla Predebon, Corina Latimore, Bre’Arna Hoole, Jasmine Wilbow, Nicole Pender, Stephanie Ostler, Nicole Griffis, Brittnee Ward, Leteah Mitchell, Naomi George and Leilani Adams.
They will join some of the best female talent in Country Rugby League, taking their first step towards selection in the Country women’s representative team.
It could also be the first step on the path to possible NSW State of Origin and Jillaroos selection.
Over 120 players from the Central Coast, Newcastle, Hastings League, Group 4, Group 19, Group 21 and the western region will take the field on Saturday.
A northern women’s side will then be selected to take on southern zone on April 14 for selection in the Country women’s representative team.
The country women’s side will also compete in the new National Championships in June for selection in the Australian Jillaroos squad.
Hastings League Ladies 9s co-ordinator Belinda Andersen has helped the team get this far.
“The women’s Country Rugby League invited Hastings League to enter a senior representative team to play in a selection day for the northern country team,” she said.
“There has been no rugby league for women in this area, so these girls have played league tag and touch football, but not rugby league.
“I took it upon myself to try to create a competition and we tried to get through in Group 3 and we were told ‘no’ by the local clubs.
“Then Geoff Rowe from Hastings League and I kept pushing to come up with something that we were allowed to do.”
Coach Glenn Bampson says the team have worked very hard.
“This is the first ladies team to represent this area,” he said.
“This is one of the best teams I have ever seen in rugby league. They have advanced so far in such a short time, and their preparation is fantastic.
“It’s a round robin tournament where we play two neighbouring groups.
“All the girls are in the excitement of it being a first-time experience and we hope to get positive results and the enjoyment of football most of all.”
Player Stephanie Ostler is really looking forward to the challenge of the selection trial.
“It’s pretty exciting. We are all in for something new, but it’s a really awesome experience,” she said.
Belinda Anderson says that without the sponsors below, they certainly wouldn’t have be able to give the girls this opportunity to go to Muswellbrook, so a massive thank you to:
- *Studdys Apparel
- *Hastings Hotel
- *Optus Port Macquarie
- *Tiles With style
- *Ken Martin
- *Tiger Carpentry
- *Lion Nathan
- *Stones Ginger Beer
- *JRB Joinery
- *PDD Advisory Group
- *Dan Abbott Electrical
- *Inland Hunting Properties
- *Heath Porter Excavations
- *Jason Taylor Painting and Decorating
- *Sam Kerr Tiling
- *Coppy’s Butcher Block