Karaka’s first girls’ rugby team tough
‘‘They are competitive because they are all girls and of course the boys naturally think they will steam roll our girls.’’
An all girls’ under-9 rugby team from Karaka is showing the boys how it’s done.
They’re Karaka Black, a band of mainly eight and nine-year-olds from the Karaka Rugby Club.
There are also two tenyear-olds to make up the numbers. They have special permission from the Counties Manukau Rugby Union to play so the team remains an all girls’ one.
It’s their first year of tackle rugby and they’re frustrating the boys and some fathers no end with their passion, skill, team work, fearlessness and winning ways.
But every game is a challenge.
Some of the boys in opposing teams are bigger, faster and more experienced at tackling but the girls’ have shrugged off size and reputations to rack up a four win, three loss record with three games to play.
Kim Hassan and Arihiana Marino, two rugby stalwarts from the Manurewa Rugby Club, have taken them under their wing.
Hassan represented both Auckland and Counties Manukau and Marino is a former New Zealand Sevens representative, a Black Fern trialist, the Counties Manukau Heat half back and a one time Kiwi Fern.
‘‘I stepped in because there was no one else to give them a hand and dragged Arihiana in with me,’’ Hassan says.
‘‘There were a couple of fathers who offered but they couldn’t be there at the game so we said we’d come down and help out and ended up coaching them full time,’’ Hassan says.
Catching, passing, tackling and wrestling is at the heart of their training.
Hassan says the girls have a fire in their belly and are loving the chance to play the game like their brothers do.
‘‘They are competitive because they are all girls and of course the boys naturally think they will steam roll our girls. Our girls are fighters and never give up. Even in their losses they come off smiling.
‘‘What has set this team apart is the fact they are all girls playing in a grade where all other teams have had one year of tackle rugby up their sleeve.
‘‘Our girls haven’t but that doesn’t stop them getting out there and giving it their all. They have learnt very quickly how to blow out in rucks and kicking, so watch out next year.’’
The team is: Kaitlin Aro, Paige Ashwell, Eden Goldsworthy, Michaela Harding, Carleyah Hemopo, Lexi-May Johnson, Lakeyn Lowry, Andi Muirhead, Rayven Phillips, Alice Rosie, Deonn Spencer, Cholie Tindle, Ashleigh Tuumaialu, Maddison Yearbury and Eden Mika.
Karaka Black, an all girls’ first year tackle team are leaving boys’ teams in their competition red faced.