For the first time, NSWRL’s Centre of Excellence will host a Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership match between two proud clubs in the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs and the South Sydney Rabbitohs this Monday night at 7:00pm.
NSWRL's premier women's open-age competition has been revamped to a seven-week regular season in 2020 due to COVID-19 and seven clubs are competing for the premiership, with the Bulldogs and Rabbitohs sitting in fourth and fifth place respectively so Monday night’s match-up will not be one to miss.
Both teams have plenty of experience at the helm, as Souths are coached by former NRL player Dean Widders and the Bulldogs coached by women’s rugby league legend Lisa Fiaola.
The Bulldogs head into the round looking to bounce back from their 32-20 defeat to Wests Tigers at Hammondville Oval last weekend while Rabbitohs second-rower Ellie Johnston is looking forward to the challenge after her team were kept scoreless in a 16-0 loss to the Cronulla Sharks last week.
“All those girls we were versing they’re very good, experienced players and I feel like playing against them is going to give us experience and we’re going to learn a lot from them even though were playing against them,” Johnston said.
“I feel like we gave them a good fight at times and I think the scoreboard didn’t quite reflect the game that was played.
“I’ve been to the Centre of Excellence before last year for an Origin pathways training so it will be really exciting to actually get to play there on Monday and it’s great it is live streamed so all my family can see it.”
Johnston grew up on NSW Mid-North Coast and made the move to Sydney this year to pursue Rugby League, after a breakout year in 2019 representing the North Coast Bulldogs in the Women’s Country Championships and the NSW Country team at the Women’s National Championships.
“Being at the Rabbitohs is really good, I love how professional it is as we’re training three to four times week - so we train Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and then if we play late on a Sunday we have a team run on the Saturday,” Johnston said.
“Dean is great, he was really good when I moved down here and welcomed me with open arms, he taught me everything and has helped me so much with my game.”
Widders has been impressed with new recruit Johnston’s work ethic, telling NSWRL “She’s at every training session 45 minutes early, she does her extras, she’s such a positive influence on the team and she’s one of the ones we’re hoping to build this club around in the future.”
Elsewhere in the competition, The Central Coast Roosters will be searching for their fifth consecutive victory over the winless Wentworthville Magpies at Campbelltown Stadium at 11:00am on Saturday and Wests Tigers and the Cronulla Sharks do battle, with a host of Harvey Norman NSW Origin stars to feature for both teams at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday at 3:00pm.