THERE is little doubt the implementation of a womens league tag competition has been a massive boost to Group 11 in recent seasons.
Coupled with a summer full-contact Nines competition currently being held in Dubbo each Friday night, participation rates in the code among the fairer sex have never been better.
Which is exactly why the code’s most famous female player, Australian Jillaroos captain Ruan Sims, will be in town this Friday.
The 34-year-old dual international recently became the first female player to sign with an NRL club when she linked with defending NRL premiers Cronulla.
With her brothers Ashton, Tariq and Korbin all former or current NRL players, her family has become synonymous with the code and she is the biggest star in the womens game.
Country Rugby League western region manager Peter Clarke said having Sims in town will be a major boost in an already thriving area of the game.
“I don’t think there is any doubt through the womens league tag competitions we have operating now that we have opened the game up to the rest of the population,” Clarke said.
“For a long time rugby league was seen as a man’s game, there was a set establishment and it took a bit to break that down but there is a lot of talent out there and the girls have really brought a new element to the game
“The success of that is why we targeted Dubbo for a pilot of the Nines, and it is going enormously well also. The participation rates are very strong.
“There are other pilot tournaments happening in Newcastle and the Illawarra at the moment, Tamworth will have one early in the new year as well.”
Together with development staff, Sims will attend Dubbo schools and will be a special guest at the Nines tournament taking place at Caltex Park in the evening.
She will visit Dubbo College Delroy Campus, St John’s College, Dubbo College Senior Campus and Dubbo College South Campus
Sims will also be an integral part of a female specific rugby league coaching course to be staged at the Dubbo Junior Rugby League clubhouse.
”The NRL wanted to help us promote the game and keep up the good work being done, and what better way to do that than have Ruan in Dubbo talking to these girls,” Clarke said.
“The really exciting part of the schedule for me is the female coaching course, which we have about 15 women enrolled for.
“That will allow participants to continue their involvement even if they aren’t playing.
“We wanted to make it female specific so that it was done in a comfortable environment and they can all bounce off Ruan and the things she has to tell them.
“We’re also looking at there being a statewide under-18s competition for the girls so things are heading in a really positive direction at the moment.”
It will be terrific to have Ruan in Dubbo for the day. She is a leader and a player everyone looks up to.Peter Clarke