Girls show 'em how it's done
The next generation of Ruan Sims and Alanna Fergusons have taken their first steps to footballing glory.
Queensland Rugby League held its annual trials for the junior outback teams over the weekend, and for the first time included girls.
QRL outback central operations manager Peter Rafter said the move proved to be a master stroke, with great interest right across the state's inland.
"Each year we pick a Queensland Outback Under 14s and Under 16s boys team who go to Coolum to play in the Glyn Rees City Country Carnival,” Rafter said.
"This year for the first time we decided to give the girls a try.
"We've had come and try days over the past couple of months to gauge interest.
"At Blackall on the weekend we got girls from the northern outback, from Mt Isa way, to play girls from the southern outback, which included girls from Roma, Blackbutt, Cunnamulla, Charleville, Blackall, Barcaldine and Longreach.”
The girls completed a few training sessions before facing off in a game.
Following the match the budding superstars were told something very exciting.
"We had 19 girls turn up on the weekend.... we've decided to take them all into the Queensland Outback team.
"They'll all go to the carnival in Coolum which starts on the 30th of June.
"Some of the girls have never been to the beach before... it will be an unforgettable experience for them.”
Not only do the girls now get the chance to show up their city rivals, but they will also be nurtured by one of rugby league's finest players, male or female.
"Stephanie Hancock, who is captain of the Australian Jillaroos, has put her hand up to coach the Queensland Outback team.
"She has been so good with the girls, she was unbelievable in Blackall. To be able to get someone like her to coach the girls is amazing.
"If they continue to play rugby league, it's one of those things they'll look back on and say 'I was coached by Stephanie Hancock'.”
With the roaring success of the inaugural girls team, Rafter is excited about where the female game can go in the bush.
"Hopefully if the interest is there we might be able to do a 14s and 16s girls side next year.
"It's baby steps at this stage with the big goal of having a team in each town within the next couple of years.
"Hopefully these girls all go back and tell their mates how good this experience was.”
The Glyn Rees City Country will be held June 30 to July 1 in Coolum.