Women's Rugby League has gone from strength to strength this season on the back of record numbers and it received another boost on Sunday after NSWRL showcased their exciting non-tackle format of Monarch Blues Tag at a Representative Gala Day for Under-15 girls at Norford Park.
The day proved to be a resounding success as 10 junior rugby league districts, including Penrith, St George and Parramatta, were represented by some of the best young talent across Sydney.
The day was filled with plenty of fun activities with many participants and onlookers also enjoying face painting, jumping castles and a DJ.
Teams were split into two pools of five before playing one game against each opponent, with each match consisting of 2 x 12 minute halves with the top two progressing to the finals.
Penrith Juniors eventually took out the inaugural Monarch Blues Tag Championship after a dominant win in the Grand Final over Wests Tigers, while the Eels and Cronulla Sharks enjoyed some big wins before coming up short in their respective Preliminary Final fixtures.
NSWRL CEO David Trodden lauded the success of the day, claiming carnival events presented an opportunity for participants to play or transition into Rugby League in a non-contact format.
"What a wonderful celebration of the game (of Rugby League). Women's participation is the fastest growing section of our game and we got to find ways to make it easy for young girls and women to participate in our game and this just shows how easy it is," Trodden told NSWRL.com.au.
"I think this just provides a little bit of a window into the future of participation with carnival style events like this rather than expecting people to turn up on Sunday for a full season.
"This is a really easy way to participate. It's been great fun for everybody, (We've received) wonderful feedback and (I think it shows) a window into the future of our game."
The event was another testament to the ever-growing nature of grassroots rugby league in NSW, with the Monarch Blues Tag format providing a new pathway for juniors and open age groups as they transition into Rugby League.
Monarch Blues Tag will be aimed at boys and girls aged 11 to 17 and men's and women's open age groups, running during the Rugby League season on a weekend day that will avoid clashes with full-tackle fixtures.
Further competitions are expected to be implemented in 2019.