New Western Women’s Rugby League chairperson Kathy Lang says splitting up the dominant Group 10 team that took out the region’s first women’s tackle premiership in 2018 has the potential to help boost future participation numbers.
Group 10 stormed undefeated to the inaugural WWRL title in March but ahead of next season will be split into three, the Orange Vipers, Panorama Platypi and the Mudgee Dragons.
Those three sides combined with clubs based out of the Woodbridge Cup, Castlereagh League and Dubbo areas boosts the second WWRL premiership race to six, and Lang says that can only be a good thing for the game’s growth in Western.
“I’m excited for next year,” Lang said looking towards a more competitive title race when the new competition kicks off on February 9.
“Overall, (the change is) with the view of growing the game in regards to participation.
“To do that we had to split some areas that were strong numbers wise.”
The competition will also grow from two grades – an open and under 18s title race – to also include an under 15s premiership too.
Lang is from Mudgee and said the Dragons have been able to call on girls from junior league tag teams to help field their youngest side.
She believes the under 15s competition will act as an important developmental step for young girls looking to take on the tackle version of the game.
“We talked about the growth of the game and to improve the skills of the women you need to start at a younger age,” she said.
I’d like to think that’s what we’re working towards.WWRL chairperson Kathy Long on a women's premiership running in conjunction with the senior men's competitions.
“We want to develop the skills a little bit earlier otherwise we’ve got girls stepping into the game and it’s a whole new thing for them. You’ve got to suddenly start tackling and it’s something a lot of girls haven’t grown up with."
Lang said the eventual goal was for a women’s tackle competition to run in conjunction with the senior men’s grades throughout winter.
“I’d like to think that’s what we’re working towards,” she said.
All teams will play each other once with the competition set to kick-off February 9 and culminate with Grand Final day on March 23.
Accompanying Lang on the committee will be Secretary Yvonne Purtell and Committee member Melinda Gleeson.
The draw for the WWRL competition will be finalised next week.