Women kick­ing goals for a bright sea­son ahead

Central and North Burnett Times - - SPORT -

RUGBY LEAGUE: Women are mak­ing progress in the male-dom­i­nated world of rugby league.

In the North Bur­nett, the women’s rugby league team was founded in the hopes more women would play the game. It be­gan in 2012 when Mundubbera Tigers sec­re­tary at the time Melinda Thor­burn de­cided she’d love to play rugby league.

“I had spent years on the side­lines cheer­ing on my son in ju­nior league and just wanted to play the game,” Thor­burn said.

“I would of­fer help­ful sug­ges­tions to him and he used to say ‘I’d love to see you out there Mum and see how you’d go, it’s not that easy’.”

It was then af­ter many hard fought de­ci­sions the women’s rugby league team was cre­ated.

“The mes­sage went out to all the lo­cal Mundubbera ladies,” Thor­burn said.

“Within a cou­ple of weeks we had a coach (Kim Aplin) and play­ers, so train­ing be­gan in earnest.”

Lots of busi­nesses took part and wanted to see the team thrive.

“Twenty lo­cal busi­nesses each do­nated money and spon­sored a jer­sey, Mundubbera hosted the game as a stand-alone match,” Thor­burn said.

“The char­ity sup­ported was Monty’s Foun­da­tion, a lo­cal char­ity run by Cindy and Dale Wendt.”

Life mem­ber of the Mundubbera Tigers Gavin Ford said it was great to see the team do­ing so well.

“It’s very good to see the re­gion has a women’s team in­volved, it cer­tainly brings a crowd to the game,” Ford said.

“The games can get very phys­i­cal and the women just love play­ing rugby league.”

Eidsvold Ea­gles coach Dar­ryl Blucher said the women’s rugby league team “some­times put the men’s to shame as they’re a very good side”.

“They love it so much and you can see the ef­fort pay­ing off dur­ing the games,” Blucher said.

“They’d of­ten want to at­tend train­ing even on days off. Some­times they say ‘can we do an ex­tra day’ and we’d say sure.

“The girls are in­spir­ing the men to play, it’s good to see the com­mit­ment is there.”

The sea­son ahead for the women’s rugby league team looks pos­i­tive.

“All I want is for my team to have fun and to be able to move for­ward in the league,” Blucher said.

“I just want to get our game skills up, as you can see they’re get­ting along quite well.”

Now as the Cen­tral Bur­nett sec­re­tary, Melinda Thor­burn is en­cour­ag­ing more women to play the game.

“The mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor for me is to en­able any fe­male want­ing to par­tic­i­pate in the game of rugby league to have the op­por­tu­nity,” Thor­burn said.

“The fu­ture vi­sion is for each club to have their own fe­male team with com­pe­ti­tion to form.”

PHOTO: PHILIPPE CO­QUERAND

GROW­ING IN­TER­EST: The women’s rugby league team in ac­tion.

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