WOMEN'S RUGBY LEAGUE

18 STARS OF 2018 | Ashlee Harrison

To whet the appetite ahead of the 2018 Rugby League season, NSWRL.com.au looks at some of the up-and-coming male and female stars who will hope to represent NSW. Today, we look at one of the first Tarsha Gale Cup products to push for senior representative selection.

With the announcement of the Tarsha Gale Cup in August 2016, women’s Rugby League received one of its biggest boosts in recent memory; the new junior representative competition built the pathway for emerging female stars.

It didn’t take long, either, for the new concept to reap rewards at the higher levels – and for one name to begin to stand out from the crowd. Ashlee Harrison is a name which we tip will feature prominently in 2018.

Harrison was a vital part of the Penrith Panthers squad which took out the inaugural Tarsha Gale Cup, scoring twice against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs to earn Player-of-the-Match honours. While known as a typically destructive ball-runner, Harrison also displayed her speed in her second four-pointer, chasing through her own grubber to all but seal the Panthers’ historic title.

The Tarsha Gale Cup victory gave Harrison a chance to force her way into the NSWRL Pathways program and she was soon rewarded with selection in the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s City-Country Shield, taking her place on the bench for City. While other Tarsha Gale Cup players had been named in extended squads for the fixture, Harrison became the first to debut in the senior representative arena.

With City winning 20-8 and Harrison playing her role, she would soon be named in an extended squad of 31 for the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s side. While narrowly overlooked for the final side, the experience will be a good one ahead of another breakout year in the senior levels.

Harrison looks set to play for the Glenmore Park Brumbies in the 2018 Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership, with the Brumbies looking to improve on their 2017 Preliminary Finals exit.