Group 19 rugby league: Junior age groups set for nines

GROWING THE GAME: Sarah Byrne will mentor the Glen Innes under-17 women's tackle side. Photo: Lynverell Photography.
GROWING THE GAME: Sarah Byrne will mentor the Glen Innes under-17 women's tackle side. Photo: Lynverell Photography.

Women's rugby league is one of the fastest growing areas of the sport and it is set for even more expansion in the tackle format.

Group 19 are doing their best to develop it locally with a 13-and-under-15 and 15-and-under-17 competition proposed to be held in conjunction with their annual open women's nines tournament.

Glen Innes, Group 19 and Greater Northern Tigers representative Sarah Byrne has taken on the coaching role for the Magpies under-17 team.

"I think that the introduction of younger age groups is so important in the development and expansion of women's rugby league," she said.

"With the sport growing so rapidly it gives young females the chance to actually participate and not just it watch on the TV or not be old enough to join in.

"Growing the game at grassroots level is what's going to keep women's rugby league growing at the pace it is."

Byrne is eager to help grow the sport as much as possible and is excited to pass on all the tips and tricks.

"This year in particular, with the introduction to representative league in our area, I've been mentored in league by coaches, in particular Mick Schmiedel, who has helped me gain knowledge in the sport," she said.

"I'd love to pass on what I can to these younger girls."

I'd love to pass on what I can to these younger girls.

Sarah Byrne

There has been interest among under-17 players to try the sport with a few hesitant due to the tackle concept.

Byrne encouraged eager young players to "get in and have a crack."

"I think a few girls would be hesitant to try contact, but you don't know until you try," she said.

"The beauty of women's league is that there's a place for everyone no matter what shape and size.

"I've found in recent years with the women's league that it's brought out players who I've never seen on the tag field and its great to see."

The proposed dates for the nines are October 12, October 19, October 26, November 2 and November 9.

Rachel and Greg Kerr have put their hands up to coach the 13-and-under-15 team.