Keilee Joseph and Tayla Montgomery are looking forward to playing in the Tarsha Gale competition after COVID-19 robbed the girls a chance of playing finals football in 2020.
The Roosters’ Tarsha Gale team was fourth on the ladder with just three rounds remaining when the NSWRL junior representative season was suspended, but the talented duo has worked hard to be part of the Roosters squad for 2021.
Montgomery will play her second season with the Roosters, and the five-eighth was thrilled when she found out the great news after a frustrating end to 2020.
“(COVID-19 ending the season) was upsetting as it came when we were on a roll and pretty high on the ladder. Losing all the training was a shock too,” Montgomery said.
“It good was to find out I would be playing with the girls again and getting back on the field.
“It is such a good club and there are so many good pathways that come with this club, and to be able to develop with the girls again is good.”
As a contracted player, Joseph knew she would be part of the Tarsha Gale squad for a third season.
After the Tarsha Gale season stopped, Joseph has continued her development with the Roosters’ NRLW and Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership teams.
The lock forward was part of the NRLW team as a development squad player and is looking forward to using her experiences to help her Tarsha Gale team mates.
“We were having such a good season (in 2020) and for it to be called off, it sucked,” Joseph said.
“I’m really excited to play with the girls. I was training with the women last year, and just to be able to come back and help the girls with their development, and help them grow to hopefully play in the women’s (competitions).
“We have a couple of things to work on as we are still a bit rusty from not playing, but once we get going, we will be on a roll.”
The Tarsha Gale side will be coached by Blake Cavallaro, who is also the Club’s Junior Representatives and Pathways Manager.
Montgomery said she has enjoyed learning from Cavallaro and the Tarsha Gale coaching staff during the challenging pre-season. The squad has been preparing for the season since November.
“You can see why (Cavallaro) is so high up in the Roosters program,” Montgomery said.
“He knows what he is doing and so approachable, and the whole coaching staff is so friendly but they can also put you in line too.
“(Pre-season) was tough, but now it is just exciting because the games are around the corner.”
Roosters fans should be proud of the commitment of the Tarsha Gale squad. With some girls based in Sydney and Central Coast, the girls train together regularly but also have separate Sydney and Central Coast training sessions.
The girls will take some confidence from their trials against St George and Illawarra when they travel to Belmore this Saturday to take on the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in the first round of the 2021 season.
TARSHA GALE DRAW
- Round 1, February 6: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, 10am at Belmore Sports Ground
- Round 2, February 13: Illawarra Steelers, 12:30pm at Ziems Park
- Round 3, February 20: Newcastle Knights, 2pm at Morry Breen Oval (Wyong)
- Round 4, February 27: Bye
- Round 5, March 6: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, 12:45pm at Bill Hicks Oval (Wyong)
- Round 6, March 13: St George Dragons, 1pm at Morry Breen Oval (Wyong)
- Round 7, March 20: Wests tigers, 12pm at Morry Breen Oval (Wyong)
- Round 8, March 27: Parramatta Eels, 12pm at New Era Stadium
- Round 9, April 3: Canberra Raiders, 12:30pm at Mascot Oval