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Jess Skinner started her Rugby League journey in the inaugural League Tag competition of the Castlereagh Rugby League district in western NSW and seven years later was appointed assistant coach of the Jillaroos for the World Cup last year.

Her journey and influence, in both League Tag and tackle between 2015 to 2022 when she helped coach Australia to a dominant 54-4 win over New Zealand at Old Trafford, has been recognised by Castlereagh Rugby League Inc.

They have named a new competition in her honour – the Jessica Skinner Cup.

“Jess still lives in Trangie – in the area – and she’s just an exceptional leader and role model for both females and Indigenous players,” Castlereagh secretary-publicity Bryson Luff told

“She’s very level-headed and just attracts people to her through her humility and down-to-earth attitude.

“When I rang her to tell her we wanted to name the Cup in her honour she said, ‘I feel like crying’.

“So, you could hear how much it meant to her. It’s well-deserved as she’s given so much to Rugby League everywhere and particularly in the Castlereagh area.”

Skinner began playing League Tag in 2015. She was a regular in representative sides, was assistant coach to the Western Rams team, and in 2017 won the Castlereagh League Tag Premiership as head coach of the Warren Bulldogs.

She became assistant coach with the Newcastle Knights’ NRLW side in 2021 and was also assistant Indigenous All Stars coach the same year.

“Jess started her coaching career in the Castlereagh Rugby League area and that’s no mean feat as it’s one of the biggest competitions in the state area-wise, maybe not population-wise,” he said.

“She has risen to such great heights but has her feet firmly on the ground.”

Luff said the Jessica Skinner Cup would be the female equivalent of the Boronia Cup, which is a Challenge Cup evolved from Group 14 Rugby League back in 1932. It is only played for during the regular season with teams retaining it until they lose on their home ground to a challenger.

“To win the Boronia Cup you have to defeat the current holder on their home ground,” Luff said.

“So for our first Jessica Skinner Cup, the winner of the Castlereagh League Tag knockout competition this weekend (22-23 April) will become the inaugural Cup holder.

“They will defend that in their first home game when the competition kicks off shortly, with eight clubs taking part.”

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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