For the first time the women in blue – NSW Police female officers – will be a part of the upcoming State Police Carnival at Tamworth’s Scully Park next month.
There will be five women’s and eight men’s teams in the annual tournament run by the NSW Police Rugby League (NSWPRL) bringing together around 430 officers from 3-7 April.
“It’s our first year for women’s teams and we’re really looking forward to it – especially the fact we’ll finally get an inaugural women’s champion,” NSWPRL Vice-President Rod Sheraton said.
The men’s competition for policemen has been running since the late 1960s.
“Last year we did have our women’s City-Country representative game out at Mudgee,” Sheraton said.
“That first taste of women’s Rugby League was really successful so it’s a natural progression to get women playing in our State Carnival,” he said.
“The women involved have been busy recruiting teammates ever since, so to get five teams up and running is pretty exciting.”
It depends on where officers work, or where they are stationed, as to which team they play for.
“So, each of our eight regions in the state has geographical boundaries and you can recruit from anywhere within those boundaries,” Sheraton said.
“For our City-Country game it’s where you went to high school that determines your team.”
This season’s City-Country game is set down for Leichhardt Oval on 15 May.
The defending 2021 State Premiers for the men is Eastern Suburbs with former NSW Cup player David Farkhas, who was a Penrith junior, named last year’s Player of the Tournament.
Farkhas played Under 20s for the Panthers in the NRL’s former Toyota Cup and he played for the Windsor Wolves in the NSW Cup.
Former Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks NSW Cup player Haydn Peacock is now playing for his police team, along with brothers Dane and Jackson Clarke, who were with the Tweed Head Seagulls in the Queensland Cup.
The coach of the Macarthur Bulls police team is former Canterbury-Bankstown prop Mitch Newton, who came off the bench in the 1995 ARL Grand Final to help beat Manly 17-4.
“We’ve got a lot of history in this competition and the standard of play is quite high,” Sheraton said.
“A lot of the men’s teams have guys with NSWRL or QRL experience, so when we get to rep games the level is very strong.”
The annual NSW Police v Queensland Police game – scheduled as a curtain-raiser to one of the NRL State of Origin games – was cancelled last year.
But the boys in blue, wearing NSW’s traditional blue jerseys, are set to face the Maroons ahead of Game One on 8 June at Sydney’s Accor Stadium.
Former NRL referee Sean Hampstead will handle some games at the Tamworth State Carnival and also co-ordinate all the referees, who are NSWRL-accredited.