GROUP 4’s Lady Bushrangers will defend the inaugural Jane Walsmley Shield they won at Muswellbrook last year, when they line up in Saturday’s 2019 Greater Northern Tigers Championships at Scully Park.
The Bushrangers were undefeated at Olympic Park last year. “The girls were outstanding,” said Group 4 president Ray McCoy.
Group 4 women’s coach, Adelaide Monika, said this year’s side is just as talented. “We have a good mix [of players],” she said. “We do have a few older heads like Joan O’Leary and Alma Hunt.”
O’Leary will play five-eighth, with Maria Monika to start at halfback and Barraba’s Zoe Darlington at fullback.
Second-rower Ebonee Ison will captain the side.
The championships mark the beginning of a new era for females playing rugby league. The Country Rugby League has introduced women’s tackle into their Country Championships for the first time.
And with the National Rugby League launching their own women’s competition last year, there are more pathways than ever before for females to pursue a career in the sport.
On Saturday, women’s tackle teams from Groups 19, 21 and 4 will have the chance to impress on the representative stage.
The Lady Bushrangers play Group 21 in their opening game (9am) before playing Group 19 (about 1.10pm).
Group 4 Bushrangers: 1 Alma Hunt, 2 Bec Lane, 3 Bec Smyth, 4 Billie-Jo Power, 5 Cassidy Carter, 6 Chantelle Lee, 7 Ebonee Ison, 8 Joan O’Leary, 9 Jodi Howarth, 10 Lauren Clarke, 11 Maria Monika, 12 Simone Lickorish, 13 Tara Williamson, 14 Tarniece Berry, 15 Tory Skuthorpe, 16 Yvonne Murphy, 17 Zoe Darlington. Coach – Adelaide Monika.
Group 19: 1 Taneika Landsborough (Guyra), 2 Nicole Robinson (Warialda), 3 Brooke O’Halloran (Uralla), 4 Alyce Walsh (Uralla), 5 Alisa Tunamena (Glen Innes), 6 Amy Barraclough (Uralla), 7 Robyn Broadbent (Uralla), 8 Simone Blacklock (Boomerangs), 9 Brooke Kingdom (Narwan), 10 Amelia Tunamena (Glen Innes), 11 Katelyn Smith (Uralla), 12 Skye Gordon-Briggs (Narwan), 13 Breana Grange (Glen Innes), 14 Vicki Youman (Uralla), 15 Sarah Byrne (Glen Innes), 16 Jessica Widders (Narwan), 17 Courtney Watts (Glen Innes), 18 Brittany Youman (Guyra), 19 Emily McMeniman (Glen Innes), 20 Amarlie Ahoy (Narwan). Coach – Kathryn McCulloch, Manager – Jessica Smith, FAO – Michael McFadyen.
Group 21: 1 Grace Gallen (Scone), 2 Samantha Elphick (Scone), 3 Kimberley Brown (Murrurundi), 4 Shai Blackadder (Merriwa), 5 Kelly Maslen (Merriwa), 6 Shae Pemberton (Muswellbrook), 7 Lucy Prudden (Murrurundi), 8 Gaynor Blackadder (Merriwa), 9 Tracey Saunders (Murrurundi), 10 Hannah Turkington (Murrurundi), 11 Sophie Hinde (Muswellbrook), 12 Brooke Davis (Greta Branxton), 13 Jessyca Morgan (Merriwa), 14 Taylah Blackadder (Merriwa), 15 Taylor Quinton-Wild (Greta Branxton), 16 Caitlin Albury (Greta Branxton), 17 Georgia Watts (Scone), 18 Jorjia Edwards (Aberdeen), 19 Jodie Holman (Murrurundi), 20 Grace Holman (Murrurundi). Coach – Matt Morgan, Managers – Fiona Morgan and Jane Walmsley, L1 Sports Trainer – Kim Beverstock, League Safe – Bruce Blackadder.
Group 4 Bushrangers: 1 Scott Berry (Werris Creek), 2 Jermain Walford (Werris Creek), 3 Ryley Taylor (Kootingal), 4 Jamarley Jerrard (North Tamworth), 5 Brayden Jerrard, 6 Mitch Sheridan (North Tamworth), 7 Mitch Doring (Manilla), 8 Lincon Smith (Gunnedah), 9 Ryan Ingram (North Tamworth), 10 Isaac Harris (Boggabri), 11 Jack Patterson (North Tamworth), 12 Zac Leonard (Werris Creek), 13 Jock Small captain (Narrabri), 14 Matt Gillham (Boggabri), 15 Nick Pascoe (Kootingal), 16 Pat Ferguson (Manilla), 17 Jack Rumsby (Kootingal), 18 Hayden Smith (Gunnedah), 19 Leroy Livermore, 20 Miles Kerney (Werris Creek). Coach – Paul Hyson Assistant Coaches – Craig Power, Nathan Blacklock, Will Jerrard.
Group 19: 1 Bailey Cosgrove (Inverell), 2 Luke French (Narwan), 3 Jacob Smith (Armidale), 4 Jordan Binge (Tenterfield), 5 Zeke Dennis (Boomerangs), 6 Keenan Duncan (Boomerangs), 7 Jayden Smith (Armidale), 8 Scott McIntyre (Armidale), 9 Jack Hukins (Inverell), 10 James Ballinger (Inverell), 11 Tristan Ward (Boomerangs), 12 Tyrell Smith (Boomerangs), 13 Rhys Smith (Boomerangs), 14 Dewayne Nicholls (Boomerangs), 15 Jade Porter (Boomerangs), 16 Brennan Cosgrove (Inverell), 17 Michael Johnston-Munro (Armidale), 18 Samuel Barker (Boomerangs), 19 Chris McIntyre (Armidale), 20 Josh Boyd (Inverell). Coach – Chris Binge, Manager – Mitchell Johnson, League Safe – Ryan Dawson.
Group 21: 1 Will Nieuwenhuise (Singleton), 2 Garry Douglass (Aberdeen), 3 Hamish Wolfgang (Aberdeen), 4 Cameron French (Aberdeen), 5 Morgan Amidy (Singleton), 6 Luke Rees (Singleton), 7 James Bradley (Singleton), 8 Isaac Austin (Scone), 9 Jason McKay (Scone), 10 Jason Hovi (Muswellbrook), 11 Andrew Pritchard (Muswellbrook), 12 Jordan Mulherin (Muswellbrook), 13 Brady Benkovic (Muswellbrook), 14 Brady Curry (Scone), 15 Jake Collison (Scone), 16 Jacob Kennedy (Muswellbrook), 17 Max Greacen (Denman), 18 Jacob Button (Muswellbrook), 19 Wade McKenzie (Muswellbrook). Coach – Gary Gardner (Singleton), Assistant coach – Russell Richards. Trainers – Dave Brown, Luke Gardner.
9am: Ladies Tackle – G4 v G21; 10am: Men’s Under 23 – G4 v G21; 11.05am: Ladies Tackle – G19 v G21; 12.05pm: Mens U23 – G19 v G21; 1.10pm Ladies Tackle – G4 v G19; 2.10pm: Men’s U23 – G4 v G19. A full canteen available but it is an alcohol-free day with no bar and no alcohol to be brought onto the ground. Admission: Adults $5, aged pensioners $3. All presentations and naming of Tiger representative teams will be held at Southgate Inn from about 4pm.