By Tasmyn Haynes
Not just for the boys: after a tough round of trials, two chosen to fill spots in NSW Catholic schools rugby team to compete at state level
The success of Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS) Sport in 2022 is evident after two girls were deemed to be amongst the best of the best at the Inaugural NSW Combined Catholic Colleges (CCC) 16’s Girls Rugby League Selection Trials.
The selection was a stage for Sydney, Metropolitan, Southern Country, and Northern Country teams to step up and battle it out for a spot in the CCC State team.
SCS players Eadie Hurley from Marist College Penshurst and Lillie McLean from Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College Kensington were chosen in the team which will go on to compete at the NSW All Schools Girls Rugby League Tournament.
Coach, Scott Ashcroft, said he was looking for athletes that displayed the three ‘C’s’ to be a part of the CCC team.
“I’m looking for communication, for players to compete, and confidence,” he said.
Selectors praised the talent and determination on display during the process.
30 girls who had left it all on the field were selected into a possibles and probables match before the final 22 players were named.
“It’s tough footy because they’re playing against girls that are as good as them,” said NSWCCC Rugby League Committee member, Michael Fisher.
“The cream rises to the top. These girls would be the best 16’s rugby league players in the NSW Catholic system.” The Sydney team demonstrated hustle and resilience when faced with low numbers and the difficulty of only having two reserves on the bench.
Despite this, all SCS players stood up to the task and rallied as a team. Four girls were selected to suit up for the possibles and probables match.
Prior to the trials at St Mary’s Leagues Stadium, athletes had a training session and tour of the NSWRL Centre of Excellence where they received a surprise visit from some NRLW players.
“There’s that pathway that the boys have always had and now the girls have it. we want to make sure the girls get as much exposure as the boys do, that they get all the same gear and bits and pieces. They’re just as important as the boys”.
“Having the NRLW girls come down was good because it gives the girls a pathway and they can see that there is someone they can emulate,” said Michael.
“That’s what they’re going to take back home: ‘I’m going to have a go here, I’ve got a pathway and these are the things that can happen.’ That’s going to wet the appetite for some of them.” The road that the NSWCCC Rugby League Selection Trials has started these players on is one of significant opportunities not previously provided in womens’ sport. The establishment of the NRLW can help get students over the line and score a future in the league.
“There’s that pathway that the boys have always had and now the girls have it. We want to make sure the girls get as much exposure as the boys do, that they get all the same gear and bits and pieces. They’re just as important as the boys” explains Michael.
A training camp will be held for the selected NSWCCC team ahead of their contest for the All Schools trophy.
The trials showed how far the rapid rise of women’s sport is being paralleled and growing in Catholic Schools.