Competitive nature on show at history-making women's talent ID day
The competitive nature and hard-hitting was on show as more than 150 female athletes gathered at Runaway Bay on Thursday to take part in the inaugural Talent ID day for the Holden NRL Women's Premiership.
Recruitment officers from Australian-based clubs the Broncos, Roosters and Dragons watched on with eagerness as the women aged from as young as 17 were put through a series of physical tests before splitting into competitive games.
Two banners were located at the ground with benchmark figures shown in comparison with members of the women's elite top 40 squad, showing the level of expectation to reach the highest level.
One athlete trialing recorded 19.5 on the 30-15 intermittent fitness test, matching the best set by a member at the top 40 level.
"A fantastic day all round for the girls," NRL Elite Female Pathways Manager Jamie Feeney said.
"We did the same tests out there we do across the national teams and state teams. They give girls the opportunity to check those scores and work from there.
"They're free agents to be recruited for the end of year competition. All the girls understand that and are open to contact from clubs. That's why they're here."
Feeney explained clubs will be sent results from the day to help gather information about the unearthed talent with more than six spots available in the 21-player NRL squads.
Under the rules of the women's premiership in September, a maximum of 15 players can come from the elite talent pool of 60 (40 from Australia and 20 from New Zealand) leaving spots on the roster open to free agents.
"They know the names and numbers of these girls," Feeney said.
"They'll get information after this so they can contact girls they want to scout and it's up to them if they want to go with it. This is just a platform to help the clubs and the women understand where they're at.
"It was exciting and a great opportunity for both player and clubs. That's why we're getting this amount of interest because they can all see what they watch on TV each week, they can do that if they work hard enough and get rewarded."
The National Championships kick off on Friday at Owen Park in Southport with another 120 athletes on show – none more so than big-name stars trialing for spots in the women's Holden State of Origin in three weeks' time.
"Which is unreal," Feeney said.
"State of Origin this year being live on free-to-air TV is a big step. Those girls will be doing everything they can over the next few days to cement their spots. And again, NRL clubs will be watching and finalising deals with them.
"There is no reason why some of the girls that tested themselves today can't be there in a few years time."
NSW City will open the championship with a clash against the Combined Affiliate States side from midday.
Holden Women's State of Origin is ready kick-off a new era in elite women's sport. Witness the spirit of Origin manifest on the iconic North Sydney Oval on Friday, June 22. Tickets available now!