Credit to an elite force for mak­ing dreams a re­al­ity

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NRL -

PLAY­ERS have been the driv­ing force of women’s rugby league reach­ing the point its at now.

As the top 40 fe­male play­ers in Aus­tralia as­sem­bled at Narrabeen this week­end for the first train­ing camp since the squad was named, Jil­la­roos coach and NRL elite pro­grams man­ager Brad Don­ald says the elite play­ers should take a lot of credit for the progress in the women’s game.

The NRL women’s premier­ship will start later this year, which was a goal the play­ers set for them­selves less than two years ago.

“It’s them. This whole move­ment has come from them,” Don­ald said.

“I go back to Oc­to­ber 2016, sit­ting down with a group of 40 girls and say­ing ‘what do you girls want to do?’ They said, ‘win the World Cup and el­e­vate the game so we have our own NRL comp.’ They’ve been able to turn that around in 18 months. It’s all player driven.”

They’re tak­ing con­trol of the camps them­selves too. Play­ers have been con- sulted on the de­vel­op­ment of pro­grams and the pro­cesses around them all and they are now be­ing equipped with the tools to bring through the next gen­er­a­tion and close skill gaps at club level.

“We’ve asked them to con­tribute to pretty much ev­ery el­e­ment of what the pro­gram looks like; from train­ing gear they want to wear to what’s the best way for us to com­mu­ni­cate with them and then what as­sis­tance do they need?” Don­ald said.

“Some of these girls are go­ing back to Black­wa­ter or Cairns where there isn’t a lo­cal com­pe­ti­tion and if they are go­ing back what sort of ad­vice do they give girls when they’re get­ting asked ques­tions about ‘how do I be­come a Jil­la­roo or NRL Premier­ship player?’

“This week­end is about us train­ing the girls so when they get back to the premier­ship, into their club footy, they’re go­ing to be lead­ing.”

Don­ald said it’s up to the play­ers to im­part their ex­pe­ri­ence from it all to the next tier of play­ers to en­sure every­one will be ready to put on a show in NRL club colours.

Aus­tralia’s Jil­la­roos.

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