History Making Tour Deemed A Success

Updated: July 6, 2017

Taking one win and a host of new friendships from the 2017 Affiliated State Championships was a great result for the pioneering Murdi Paaki Regional Rugby League Council Women’s under -16s.

The MPRRLC outfit conceded losses to Western Australia and Victoria at the Adelaide tournament but had a history-making 20-8 win against hosts South Australia on Day Two of the event.

These achievements were monumental considering the the side was only organised less than a month before the June 23-25 tournament and most players and staff met each other for the first time when the side trained and stayed overnight in Broken Hill on June 21.

From Broken Hill to Dubbo, players came from all corners of the Far Western community  to be a part of the side, with many players experiencing full-contact rugby league for the first time.

MPRRLC under -16s assistant coach Stephanie Halpin believed the tough game against Victoria was a shining example of how far the team has come in a short space of time; with the players adjusting their style of football throughout the game to test the opposition at every opportunity.

While still soundly beaten, it showed that the side was learning fast.

“They were little sponges,” said Halpin.

“The way the whole side came together was amazing.”

Halpin, a PE Teacher at Menindee Central School, said she knows how valuable this experience was for the girls that attend her school, Telicia Briar and Montana Newman.

An example of the pride was the ‘#dismoment’ hash tag used across social media to promote the team’s achievements.

“To get to socialise and play sport with people outside of their hometown was rewarding … they had a great time, as did all the side,” Halpin said.

“To see all the players be proud of their achievements and go outside their comfort zone, it was a wonderful thing.”

Halpin hopes the women’s game will grow off this and that she would love to be involved in another touring party if the opportunity presented itself.

“It’s a strong platform for women’s rugby league in the Far West,” she said.

The MPRRLC under 16s’ highlight came in round two when it defeated South Australia 20-8 with Maddison Wallace of Trangie being named player of the match.

Captain and five-eighth Reighan Peckham (Warren) bagged a hat-trick while Jacana Powell (Trangie) and Pansy Newman (Broken Hill) also scored tries in the historic win.

Halpin said the tour staff of Jessica Skinner (head coach), Halpin, Demi Wilson (manager), Mick Barlow (sports trainer), Ronny Gibbs (coaching co-ordinator) and Lyndon Pace (sports trainer) worked extremely well together.

Highlights also included getting to see the Sydney Roosters train and then watching them score a come-from-behind 25-24 golden-point win against the Melbourne Storm in front of more than 20,000 people at Adelaide Oval.

The MPRRLC under 16s squad included; Khyarna Barker (Goodooga), Telicia Briar (Menindee), Shakira Cochrane (Goodooga), Janalee Conroy (Brewarrina), Demi Dunn (Trangie), Rachael Forrest (Nyngan), Hayleigh Hollman (Bourke), Larissa Kennedy (Walgett), Leah Lamb (Dubbo), Shavinah Mann (Bourke), Bonnee Morton (Trangie), Terri-Lee Murray (Collarenebri), Pansy Newman (Broken Hill), Montana Newman (Menindee), Lekeisha Orcher (Bourke), Reighan Peckham (Warren), Jacana Powell (Trangie), Symone Rammit (Broken Hill), Madison Wallace (Trangie), Shalana Walsh (Lightning Ridge).