Credit to an elite force for making dreams a reality
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.