She already lives and breathes footy but if Jess Skinner had her way rugby league would be embedded in her DNA.
“I love it. It’s my passion. If I could do it 24-7, I would,” she said.
And that passion is one of the major reasons why Skinner won the Country Rugby League’s Women In League achievement award.
Skinner took out the gong at the CRL’s Holiday Inn Community Awards at Potts Point earlier in August and was on deck at the presentation to receive the honour from CRL chairman John Anderson.
Skinner has been instrumental in helping get the women’s game off the ground in the Western Rams region, but long before that has been, and still is, involved in rugby league in the far west.
Hailing from Trangie, Skinner coaches the Far West Academy league tag team and was a pioneer in implementing the inaugural League Tag Academy Program, developing female youth across remote and rural communities in the Barwon Darling, Outback and Castlereagh Leagues.
Skinner is currently the coach of both the Rams league tag and tackle representative sides, helping six players from the latter earn selection in the inaugural NSW Sountern Country outfit, one that included a stack of Jillaroos.
Skinner is regularly coaching or volunteering her time six days a week, and she wouldn’t change a thing.
“I think there’s a need for it in the particular communities I work in,” Skinner said on Wednesday, while coaching at the Ronny Gibbs gala day.
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“I love the area, and love what footy brings to the area for these young kids.
“There’s a huge need for it here and it’s all sparked from a passion for the game within my family ... that’s why I do it.
“I knew I had the nomination… but there’s a lot of women out there doing amazing stuff so it was really nice to get it considering the quality of volunteers nominated.”
Skinner said she isn’t surprised by the boom in women’s rugby league and said the next few years shaped up as an exciting time for the game in both the bush the big smoke, where the first women’s NRL competition will be staged.
Not that Skinner will have a lot of time to watch – she’s wrapped up in her own footy commitments virtually every weekend.
“It’s an all-year round thing,” she said.
“As soon as the footy stops, at the moment, I’m helping out Group 10 with the nines team they’re sending to Albury, I’m helping the under 16s team, and then I’ve got far west and western rams kick-off in November.”