Group Three clubs snub women's rugby league

Country Rugby League female participation officer Kylie Hilder.
Country Rugby League female participation officer Kylie Hilder.

WOMEN’S rugby league is growing in popularity in the Country Rugby League area.

The concept is expected to expand with several groups expressing interest to host competitions at the completion of  women’s league tag season.

However, there appears little interest for the women’s game in Group Three.

“There’s nothing in place here at present,’’ CRL female participation officer Kylie Hilder from Forster-Tuncurry said.

“I’d love to say there is, but unfortunately that’s not the case.’’

Hilder led a push to start a women’s competition two years ago however, this met with a lukewarm response from clubs when the proposal was put forward at the Group Three annual meeting. In the end nothing eventuated.

Hilder said any women’s competition would need the support of the group and the clubs.

“Otherwise it's just too difficult to set up,’’ she explained.

“We need the clubs to come on board.’’

Hilder said nines is a popular starting point for women’s rugby league, explaining that it is an easier transition from league tag to nines.

The league competitions also don’t have to be played in the winter. Nor do they have to be lengthy.

"They can be run over six weeks, as is the case in Group 21 or over six weeks with matches every two weeks, played as gala days,’’ Hilder said.

Hilder said she will continue to negotiate with Group Three concerning the future of a women’s competition. However, the said there has to be momentum from clubs as well.

“The group can only put the idea out there,’’ she added.

“It’s up to the clubs to get involved.’’

Hilder added there is also a possibility of starting a junior league tag competition here to act as a pathway to both league tag and rugby league.

“In the big picture we’ll be looking to start Country Championships in nines and this can lead to selection in the Country side to play City,’’ she said.

Hilder plays league tag with Forster-Tuncurry and rugby league with North Newcastle in the NSW women’s competition. Holli Wheeler (Old Bar) and Simone Smith (Port Macquarie) also play for North Newcastle. Smith was a member of the Australian Jillaroos side that played New Zealand this year while both Hilder and Wheeler represented NSW Country against City.