In 2017 the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs announced their inaugural Tarsha Gale Cup side, a girls under 18’s nine-a-side competition that runs alongside the Harold Matthews and SG Ball NSWRL Junior Representative programs.
Bulldogs Chief Executive Raelene Castle saw the initiative as a great step forward for women's rugby league.
"The Bulldogs are extremely supportive of what we think is a great initiative in the development of the women's game within rugby league," Castle said.
The girls have made an immediate impact on the competition and after eight Rounds, the Bulldogs sit on top of the table with five wins, while Page McGregor tops the try scoring tally with 12 tries.
Off the field, the girls have focused on career development, including a workshop evening at Belmore Sports Ground on Wednesday night under the guidance of Club Career Coach Renee Robson.
The workshop was not just about jobs, but also a chance for the girls to self-reflect on appropriate careers they would be interested in. It was also an opportunity to do some exploration as to which careers appeal to them and fit with their interests and abilities.
Andrew Patmore, the clubs Pathway Performance Manager helped throughout the evening and could see the benefit of holding an event such as this.
“It was great to see the interaction and group discussions between NRL staff and the girls. The entire team approached the process with excitement based on not just the activity, but the opportunity to work with the NRL staff in a professional environment,” said Patmore.
“Working with the girls has been fantastic. They have shown a great appreciation of the support given to them by the club and the genuine excitement of representing the Bulldogs.”
With the Tarsha Gale Cup running in line with Harold Matthews and SG Ball seasons, it’s important to provide the same support services offered to the males, to ensure a genuine pathway for female athletes who aspire to wear the blue and white of the Bulldogs exists.