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Inaugural Australian Schoolgirls clash

Inaugural Australian Schoolgirls clash to launch new era (Photo : NRL)

Inaugural Australian Schoolgirls clash

Alicia Newton : NRLW Reporter

Inaugural Australian Schoolgirls clash to launch new era

NSW and Queensland will clash for Origin glory on Wednesday night but history will be made hours earlier when the inaugural Australian Schoolgirls curtain-raiser kicks off proceedings.

A combined NSW and ACT invitational team will take on Queensland in the first-ever Schoolgirls clash at Suncorp Stadium with an Australian side to be picked from the fixture.

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The introduction of an Australian Schoolgirls side is another monumental step for women’s rugby league with not only expansion at the elite level but participation rates and an increase of programs in schools on the rise.

The 2022 Australian Schoolboys side was announced on Monday with the program celebrating its 50th anniversary since the 1972 tour.

Planning for an Australian Schoolgirls carnival has been in the works for over 18 months but the COVID-19 pandemic stalled any momentum until talks got back on track this year.

“To have the ACT and NSW invitational team and Queensland team play a curtain raiser is really exciting and probably shows the priority that the game has got in the women’s space,” NRL General Manager of player pathways, Brad Donald said.

The inaugural Queensland Schoolgirls team checks out Suncorp Stadium ahead of the game.

“If little boys can grow up and aspire to play in the Australian Schoolboys jumper then it makes common sense we have the same opportunity for girls.

“We’re seeing a lot of hard work to get into schools and provide the same opportunities to females as we do the males in our game development programs.”

NSW ACT Girl’s U18’s Schools Rugby League

NSW ACT Girl’s U18’s Schools Rugby League

Emerging Illawarra-based coach Melissa Spero will pick an Australian team alongside selectors Samantha Economos and Jim Look following the game on Wednesday night.

The inaugural Australian Schoolgirls side chosen from the match is set to travel and play internationally in September.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me, a little bit unexpected but I’ve got support and backing from people who know me well,” Spero said.

“This pathway is a really big opportunity for not only the girls but the staff as well and I’m really excited to be able to lead that.

“It’d be awesome to see a similar pathway to what the boys have, although it doesn’t necessarily have to be the same, we’ve just got to grow it to be a go-to pathway for Schoolgirls.

The inaugural Queensland Schoolgirls team checks out Suncorp Stadium ahead of the game.

The inaugural Queensland Schoolgirls team checks out Suncorp Stadium ahead of the game.

“I know the under 19s National Championships is a great example and that can be another pathway for these girls to go into after they complete their studies.”

The Queensland side will be coached by former Jillaroo Veronica White while NSW/ACT will be led by ACT-based coach Sherree Bush.

“I’ve been in both Queensland and NSW camps the last few days and I’ve said to both teams that this is something that the boys don’t get to do because this is in the inaugural year,” Spero said.

“They need to enjoy the fact they’re playing at Suncorp and it’s an amazing opportunity that may not happen again.”

NRL.com will live stream the match from 5:45pm.

Queensland Schoolgirls

Name School

Luca Howarth Emmaus College Rockhampton
Relna Hosea Ipswich Girls Grammar
Mariah Brown St Saviours College Toowoomba
Fleur Ginn Canterbury College
Ebony Raftstrand-Smith Keebra Park SHS
Sienna Lofipo Marsden SHS
Skyla Adams Keebra Park SHS
Lillian Yarrow Emmaus College Rockhampton
Marissa Nicholson Gympie SHS
Eliza Lopamaua Woodridge SHS
Shaylee Joseph Mabel Park SHS
Tavarna Papalii Keebra Park SHS
Tiresa Elika Ipswich SHS
Aerielle Hobbler Mareeba SHS
Theophelia Mosby-Nona Kirwan SHS
India Seeto Marsden SHS
Malaela Su’a Mabel Park SHS
Nancy Sullivan Nambour State College
Montaya Hudson Marsden SHS

NSW/ACT Schoolgirls

Name School

Georgia Willey Erindale College, Wanniassa
Alysha Bell Glenwood High School
Piper Simons Stella Maris College, Manly
Litia Fusi Westfield Sports High, Fairfield
Tyanna Kerr McCarthy Catholic College, Tamworth
Tallara Bamblett The Hills Sports High, Seven Hills
Lailani Montgomery St Peter’s Catholic College, Tuggerah
Joiful Fotu-Moala Brigidine College, Randwick
Kasey Quye St Mary’s Senior High
Phoenix Lamese Westfield Sports High, Fairfield
Latisha Smythe Endeavour Sports High School, Caringbah
Claire Kennedy Springwood High School, Faulconbridge
Ally Bullman Narrabeen Sports High, Narrabeen
Hope Millard Holy Spirit College, Bellambi
Monica Fasavalu-Faamausili Bass High School
Maya Harris SEDA College, Glebe
Tia-Jordyn Vasilovski Caroline Chisholm College, Glenmore Park
Madison Mulhall St Patrick’s College, Campbelltown

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