Maclean’s footy girls take home shield
THE Maclean High School girl’s rugby league team had plenty to play for when they contested the finals of the annual Trish Douglas Shield at St John’s College Woodlawn.
Not only were they the defending champions but the shield is named after a former teacher from their school who died three years ago.
The Douglas name is well known around local rugby league circles with son Luke Douglas a Gold Coast Titans player in the NRL.
Rivers Secondary College Kadina High School campus and St Joseph’s College Tweed Heads also did battle in the under-16 girls competition while boys battled it out in the Country Cup.
It was a rare chance for the girls to share the same ground as the boys with all games on the main field at the school just outside of Lismore.
A long-range try from Maclean’s Melanie Laurie was a highlight in a 26-6 win against Tweed Heads.
There is plenty of talent in the side with the likes of Dolly Daley, Charlotte Williams and Laurie.
“There is a lot of natural ability considering most of these girls haven’t played much rugby league,” coach Steve Woods said.
“Mel is obviously from pretty good stock being a Laurie and I thought Franceen Vesper and Kim Want did well out there.”
Development officer Mike Donnelly hopes they can keep growing the game on the Northern Rivers with about 10 teams already on board.
The shield was contested for the first time last year with the winners going on to play in Coffs Harbour.
“Trish used to do a lot of work with special needs kids and I’ve had a bit to do with Luke,” Donnelly said.
“The girls certainly aren’t afraid out there and they go as hard as they can.
“They want to learn and once you teach them how to tackle they don’t forget.
“We’ve tried to make rugby league available for girls and want to give them a pathway.
“We had the Australian Jillaroos side do an opposed session with one of the teams a few years ago.”