Women kicking goals for a bright season ahead
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.”
GROWING INTEREST: The women’s rugby league team in action.