Almost 500 schoolgirls from across the state converged on St Marys Stadium and the Kingsway playing fields in Greater Western Sydney for the 2018 Female State Finals Day, an event that celebrates and highlights the rise and rise of women’s Rugby League.
The statewide competition for schoolgirls, in Under 12, Under 14, Under 16 and Under 18/ Open age categories, featured the top 32 teams in the four age groups who have qualified through local and regional events throughout terms two and three.
In total, 4571 girls from 325 teams have taken part in the qualifying rounds for the tournament which was staged as a stand-alone schoolgirls event for the first time last year as part of a joint initiative of the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) and National Rugby League (NRL).
We were fortunate to have NRLW’s players from the Sydney Roosters and St George Illawarra Dragons present on the day. The elite players interacted with the schoolgirls by running the water for teams, posing for photos, signing autographs and providing many insightful and motivating words of wisdom to the next generation of rugby league players.
VIP guests were entertained with a panel discussion featuring prominent women within the game. Emma Lawrence, journalist from Channel 10, Kerry Turner Manager, Partnerships and Participation with the NSW Office of Sport and , Quincy Dodd, Year 12 student at Cronulla HS, a NSWRL Origin squad member and NRLW Roosters player and Kylie Hilder, CRL Women’s Participation Officer and NRLW Roosters player all gave insightful descriptions into their role around the growth and interest of women’s rugby league.
The day was not all about footy with the girls engaging in precinct activities which included inflatable carnival activities, hair braiding stations, Active Kids activations and cake stalls from local schools. Entertainment was provided by local musicians/bands showcasing their talents. Historian Terry Williams from the NRL museum also had a presence showcasing some of the games silverware including the Women’s World Cup, Women’s All Stars Trophy and Origin Shield.
The ARL Commission, led by Peter Beattie, were also on hand to deliver the 2018 NRL participation statistics announcement. For the first time, Rugby League participation across New South Wales has exceeded 100,000 with increased numbers of men, women, boys and girls playing the game in the city and country.
Our State Champions in each of the age groups were:
12s - Wiripaang PS 28 def Crawford PS 14
14s – Rooty Hill HS 16 def Hunter SHS 10
16s – St Agnes Catholic HS 24 def Cronulla HS 22
18s – Bass HS (10) drew with Chifley Senior College (10). First Try Scorer and crowned champions - Bass HS