The NSWRL and Penrith District Junior Rugby League will welcome a new era of girls' Rugby League when all-female competitions are staged in 2018, starting this weekend.
A total of 14 teams and almost 150 players will take part in Round 1, with under-6s to under-18s represented in all-girls competitions for the first time. It is part of the NSWRL's complete female pathway, which provides an opportunity for women and girls to play at every age group in all NSWRL districts.
This is about getting new kids to the game, it’s about starting them young and giving them the opportunity.Zoe Hamilton
NSWRL Club and Competitions Coordinator Zoe Hamilton emphasised the significance of the competitions, which are an Australian first.
"This is completely unique to Penrith; no one else has done this," Hamilton told NSWRL.com.au. "We are the first district that will provide a full pathway for girls.
"At the moment, girls play with boys before they transition to girls-only teams at the age of 14.
"Hopefully they can keep growing in popularity as girls realise that there's an opportunity to play at any age level."
Girls are still able to play in mixed teams in the Penrith district, but the new competitions provide a new opportunity for players who would prefer an all-female environment.
"This is about getting new kids to the game, it’s about starting them young and giving them the opportunity," Hamilton said.
"700 girls from under 14s to under 18s currently play in the Penrith District. We know that the base is here in Penrith, it’s just building it."
The competitions will be held at central venues throughout 2018, to be shared around the clubs, with all divisions running for at least 10 weeks of the regular season. Round 1 will take place at Peter Van Hasselt Park, Shalvey, kicking off from 9am.
Registrations for the 2018 Junior League season are open until 30 June - sign up now at NRL.com/play.