In the backyards of Western Sydney, Rugby League has always been a family affair. On Saturday, however, on an age-old patch of Cabramatta turf, the NSWRL witnessed a first in family football stories.
With three rounds now completed, the Tarsha Gale Cup has been successful in elevating under-18s girls to a level playing field alongside their male counterparts. For the Parramatta Eels, that playing field was Cabramatta’s New Era Stadium on Saturday; the Eels’ Harold Matthews, Tarsha Gale Cup and SG Ball outfits played the Illawarra Steelers in the club’s first junior reps triple-header. Among the names selected to don the famous blue and gold jersey were Akosita and Tevita Masima: siblings lining up in the Tarsha Gale and Harold Matthews competitions respectively.
Akosita played her part in the thrilling 20-18 win over Illawarra – the club’s first game in the Tarsha Gale Cup – scoring a vital try in the 17th minute. The 17-year-old, however, revealed it was her brothers’ influence that landed her there in the first place.
“I have two brothers that play rep football for Parramatta, so they kind of drove me,” Masima tells NSWRL.com.au. “They said ‘there’s a new girls side coming in, you should join.’
“It was hard mentally [to prepare] because I play rugby union. I only switched to league this year.”