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The sisterhood is doing well at Brothers Penrith

There’s been an uprising from the sisterhood at Brothers Penrith Junior Rugby League.

A registration day in February brought a large turnout of girls wanting to attend training – so much so that the club could field a team in every age group - under 12 to 16, and under 18.

The club had just two girls teams last year – under 13 and under 15. But both won their respective grand finals proving the talent pool, which developed True Blues Nathan Cleary and Greg Alexander, is definitely building.

“We’ve wanted for a long time, well particularly the last three to four years, to embrace the women’s game and bring it into our club further,” Brothers Penrith President Tory Cooper told

“There’s been quite a lot of girls wanting to play but it’s been perceived as the male game.

“But that stigma is now well and truly dropped. We’re getting a lot of girls in the Penrith area – one of the heartlands of Rugby League – who want to play.

“As a club we’ve seen that and wanted to give them that opportunity.

Brothers Penrith juniors Ella Long (L) and Willow Lewis. Photos: Courtesy Nathan Taylor, Western Weekender
Brothers Penrith juniors Ella Long (L) and Willow Lewis. Photos: Courtesy Nathan Taylor, Western Weekender

“But we didn’t really have the drivers behind it. We needed people who had that passion for the female game and we’ve got that now in Mark Lewis and Gavin Jensen."

Lewis began coaching some of the boys’ teams at the club.

“I got involved in Rugby League because of my son Austin and my daughter just came along to training and wanted to start playing. So she did and she loved it,” Lewis said.

“We’re called Brothers but come join our sisterhood.”

Cooper said there were many reasons for the upswing in the female game.

“It’s partly the hype in Penrith around obviously the success of the NRL team but also the more exposure around the women’s teams in the NRLW and the women’s (NSW) Origin team,” he said.

“Now to have three Origin games, that’s huge. It shows our female players they can play at the same level as the men. Origin and NRLW expansions have been a massive boost for women.

“Now there’s talk of a NRLW team at Penrith in the coming years so that’s huge as well,” Cooper said.

Penrith already have a team in the NSWRL’s Westpac Tarsha Gale Cup (under 19s) and Westpac Lisa Fiaola Cup (under 17s), and both sides are two wins from two rounds so far in 2024.

“There’d be girls saying ‘I’m coming through the ranks and now I might get an opportunity to play in a Panthers jersey’,” Cooper said.

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