On Thursday, 17 July Rugby League returned to the historic North Sydney Oval, where the National Rugby League Game Development hosted a girls-only holiday clinic named Junior to Jillaroos. This the first of its kind on the North Shore, 100 girls aged five to 16 were treated to an elite coaching clinic tailored to enhance their Rugby League skill and development.
Maria Arthur, NRL Sydney Metro Regional Manager, said the Junior to Jillaroos clinic had a sole focus on growing female participation.
"It’s easy to talk about the NRL stars and State of Origin this week, but it’s all for nothing if you don’t look after all aspects of our game and cater to the girls who love Rugby League and want an opportunity to play," Arthur said. "The Junior to Jillaroos clinic is for our female junior players as well as any inexperienced girls who just want to turn up and have some fun.
"It’s great to see the sun shining and a big turnout of enthusiastic girls from a wide range of ages."
Throughout the day, the girls participated in various skill based training drills culminating in playing a game. In attendance was current NSW and Australian Jillaroos captain Ruan Sims as well as the current halfback for both NSW and the Australian Jillaroos Maddie Studdon. The two women were provided the opportunity to explain the pathway for girls in Rugby League.
“Having current Jillaroos players, Maddie Studdon and Ruan Sims in attendance is a great way to show the girls that there is a pathway for the female players of Rugby League and that our game is not limited to boys," Daniel Vasek, Game Development officer and organiser of Junior to Jillaroos, said. "It is an exciting prospect that the girls in attendance could one day represent their country at the elite level in Rugby League”
North Sydney Junior League Administrator Josh Hyland echoed the sentiments:
“It is great to see so many girls involved in our great game - Junior Rugby League is a very inclusive sport for both male and female participants. As a district, we are looking to promote our junior game to girls within the North Shore who one day can grow up playing for their country just like Maddie and Ruan”
In September 2016, the Rugby League World Cup 2017 Organising Committee announced that, for the first time in the sport’s history, the Women’s Rugby League World Cup will be held concurrently with the men’s tournament. With NSW Government support, all Women’s Rugby League World Cup 2017 pool matches and the semi-finals will be played at Southern Cross Group Stadium in Cronulla, Sydney, from 16 November 2017 – 26 November 2017. The winners of the two semi-finals will then contest the Women’s World Cup final as a double-header with the men’s final at Brisbane Stadium on 2 December 2017. For more information, please visit PlayNRL Sydney Metro on Facebook.