WHEN you ask Tia Elford what the driving force was that made her give rugby union a try, it's a simple response.
She just wanted to tackle people in an environment that was conducive to it.
And if you ask under-15 Mid North Coast Tomahawks girls representative coach Rebecca Beverley about it, she gives a similar response.
"She's bloody good at it," she said.
Elford, along with Port Macquarie Pirates duo Chloe Hanlan and Jade Pyke have been selected in the Tomahawks' final squad for the country championships on April 14 and 15 at Crescent Head.
14-year-old Elford overcame the disappointment of missing out on the side last year to return to the drawing board and become a better player.
It's the type of attitude that forced Beverley to declare Elford would be "someone to build the team around".
"Tia didn't make it last year, but went away, worked super hard and now she's a force to be reckoned with," the coach said.
"She will be very good for our team.
It was really tough to pick the side and that's a great sign for the sport here that it's hard to pick one team because we have so many girlsBec Beverley
"She was a little quieter in the first session and by the last session she was really showing us what she's got.
"It was good to see she still had ideas to put forward and I'm so happy and proud of what she did."
The Pirates pairing of Hanlan and Pyke also put their best feet forward during the selection process with performances that proved too hard to ignore.
"Jade and Chloe have both just turned 13 so they were up against 15-year-olds and they did so well," Beverley said.
"If you ask Jade to do something she'll do it and she'll do it at 100 percent; she never complains and is a hard worker when it comes to rugby."
Beverley indicated Elford and Pyke would play a role in the forwards while Hanlan was likely to fill a spot in the backline at either outside centre or on the wing.
"Chloe is a quiet achiever," she said.
"She's the quietest in our group and her ball skills are really good.
"She has a good idea of the game and all three are players we can build around so they're important to our structure."
A final decision hasn't been made on where in the forwards Elford and Pyke will play.
"We're seeing where we're going to put both Jade and Tia because they're both pretty versatile so they'll either be in the front row or second row," Beverley said.
"It depends on the balance of the side. We're mixing and matching trying to find the best group that works in the scrum."
Beverley said the final team selection was difficult to make although it indicated the strength of girls rugby in the region.
"It was really tough to pick the side and that's a great sign for the sport here that it's hard to pick one team because we have so many girls," she said.
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