Four sides locked in for women's league

Brooke Atkins takers a hit-up for Wingham Tigers in the North Coast 11-a-side competition last year.
Brooke Atkins takers a hit-up for Wingham Tigers in the North Coast 11-a-side competition last year.

FOUR sides will contest the inaugural Group Three Rugby League women's competition to start later this year.

This was confirmed at a general meeting of Group Three held at the Wingham Services Club.

Wingham, Wauchope, Forster-Tuncurry and Macleay have entered teams in the six week competition.

Port Macquarie and Old Bar had earlier expressed an intention to nominate sides, but this didn't eventuate.

"We'll run with the four teams,'' Group Three chairman Wayne Bridge said.

"We'll start the competition at the back end of the season.''

The women's tackle matches will start at 10.30 and will be the first game on the program.

"It's going to make for a slightly longer day, but we thought this would be easier for the clubs than playing the women's games separately at one venue, possibly on another day or night,'' Mr Bridge said.

It had been suggested all the women's matches be played on a Friday night at one venue each week. However, Mr Bridge said previously the clubs aren't in favour of this concept.

He said every endeavour will be made to ensure the women's league sides play with their clubs, but he added this won't always be possible.

"For example on one occasion Wingham will be playing Port at Port while the women's league game will be at Wauchope,'' he said.

"That's unfortunate, but it's the only way we could work the draw.''

There will be a women's league grand final played on Sunday September 19 along with the remainder of the grades.

Mr Bridge said the other clubs didn't give any indication that they would have women's tackle teams next year, although he said he hopes the concept will continue to grow.

The women's league tag competition will start on the weekend of April 10 and 11, along with the other grades. Group Three officials have stressed on a number of occasions that league tag is not under any threat from women's rugby league, although it is understood that there is a strong push from the NSWRL to promote women's tackle.

NSWRL female participation officer, Kylie Hilder from Forster told the Times last week she supports the idea of playing a shortened tackle season.