After a huge year both at State and National level, women’s rugby league is set for its biggest moment yet.
On February 12, twenty Indigenous players will realise a dream – to join together and represent their communities against a formidable opponent.
Now a much anticipated annual event, the NRL Indigenous All Stars v NRL All Stars match at Gold Coast’s Skilled Park was a highlight on the national rugby league calendar in 2010.
And for the first time, their female counterparts will also play on the big stage, in what has become the centrepiece of Rugby League’s commitment to Indigenous Australia.
Indigenous Women’s All Stars coach Rob Brough has watched more than 500 talented women trial for the side over the past 10 weeks, travelling as far north as Cairns and south to Sydney.
A 23-woman squad will head into a one-day camp at Brisbane’s Nudgee College on December 18, where the final 20 will be named.
Australian Women’s Rugby League executive officer Annie Banks said it was an historic moment for the female game.
“This is the first time the governing body has assembled a national Indigenous team,” she said.
“These players are so proud to represent their culture, and we have unearthed some very talented players during this campaign.”
The Australian side, to be guided by assistant coach Paul Dyer, boasts 12 Queensland representatives, following their convincing 36-6 win over New South Wales at Gympie in June.
National head coach and former North Queensland Cowboys and New South Wales coach Graham Murray will oversee both camps.
Both teams will head into camp at the Gold Coast on February 9, and will be heavily involved in One Community Carnival events in the lead-up to the game.
The game will kick-off at 3.40pm.
Women’s All Stars
Heather Ballinger (Queensland), Jo Barrett (Queensland), Ali Brigginshaw (Queensland), Teina Clark (NSW), Natalie Dwyer (Queensland), Erin Elliott (Queensland), Lisa Fiola (NSW), Stephanie Hancok (Queensland), Kylie Hilder (NSW), Suzanne Johnson (Queensland), Renae Kunst (Queensland), Sonia Mose (NSW), Karyn Murphy (Queensland), Tahnee Norris (Queensland), Jess Palmer (NSW), Tegan Rolfe (Queensland), Alexander Sulshi (NSW),Tarah Westera (Queensland).
Women’s Indigenous All Stars
Bianca Ambrum (Queensland), Theresa Anderson (Queensland), Naomi Babongi (Queensland), Natasha Baggow (Queensland), Chloe Caldwell (NSW), Candice Clay (NSW), Bo de la Cruz (Northern Territory), Pat Fraser (Queensland), Natalie Gala (Queensland), Eunice Grimes (NSW), Rachel Moreton (NSW), Kaitlin Moss (Queensland), Mahalia Murphy (NSW), Yvonne O'Neill (Queensland), Kylie Pennell (NSW), Lavina Philip (NSW), Ros Simpson (NSW), Tyan Smith (NSW), Angela Solomon (Queensland), Rebecca Solomon (Queensland), Tracy Thompson (Queensland), Julie Young (NSW), Rebecca Young (NSW).