The Women’s National Rugby League Championships are coming to Redcliffe next week, with 500 players and officials expected to pump $700,000 into the region’s economy.
Sponsored by Harvey Norman, the four-day tournament (May 20-23) will see 14 teams fielding 300 of Australia’s “brightest talents” at the Moreton Daily Stadium.
Open Women and Under 19 teams will come from the Northern Territory, South Australia, West Australia, Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Defence Force.
For the first time an Indigenous Invitational side will take part – the First Nations Gems.
“These four days are more important to rugby league and the NRLW than ever before,” said NRL General Manager – Player Pathways and Jillaroos Coach Brad Donald.
“We’re on the cusp of expansions and there are potentially two or three more teams which will be starting preseason in six or seven weeks.
“That means we need more players for those teams and it could be anywhere from 80-100 players who have not played NRLW before.
“This competition will see 300 of the brightest talents that could get a tap on the shoulder, get signed to an NRLW club and play in the NRLW in no time.
“I guarantee we’ll see girls running around here who will bounce into the NRLW in just weeks.”
Julia Robertson is a perfect illustration. She burst onto the scene in 2018 going from netball to the inaugural Broncos’ team and then the Australian Jillaroos in the same year!
“I’d played netball all my life but joined the Australian Defence Force which was looking for (rugby league) players,” Robertson says.
With her first touch in her first league match, playing for the ADF at the 2018 National Championships, Robertson raced 80m down the touchline to score.
“Looking back and I do think ‘how did that happen’?” she says, “but footy is growing and this is a great opportunity.
“This is where you can get seen. You never know who is watching, you never know what will happen. Give it crack.”
Moreton Bay Regional Council worked with the NRL to bring the talent identification tournament to Moreton Daily Stadium.
“Home to the mighty Dolphins, more than 5500 local players and 14 junior clubs, Moreton Bay Region is one of Australia’s great rugby league heartlands and the perfect place to host the championships,” Mayor Peter Flannery says.
“Locals can cheer on their Origin heroes while businesses will benefit from more than $700,000 expected to flow into the economy. We hope to attract more major events to the region in the future.”
The National Championships has moved up from the Gold Coast to Redcliffe. It was last played in 2019 with six teams. COVID forced a cancellation last year, but the NRL has introduced Under 19s this season and expanded it to 14 teams.
Pool Matches will take place on May 20-22 at Moreton Daily Stadium, with the finals on Sunday, May 23.
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