Rugby sevens is a ballooning sport across the entire country – that’s no secret.
And NSW Waratahs sevens youth girls’ coach and former Dubbo Kangaroo Kieran Smith says, for young girls in the central west, there’s no better time than now to get involved.
The region is brimming with talent, skills that were on show on Saturday during the Waratahs-ACT Brumbies Super Rugby trial at Mudgee’s Glen Willow Sporting Complex.
With close to 30 girls training regularly with the Central West sevens program, a handful of those players took part in an exhibition game at Mudgee in front of thousands of spectators.
It was a phenomenal opportunity for the young girls on show, and if the quality is any indication, Forbes’ Darcie Morrison won’t be the last central west girl to earn a gig in the national development program.
“It’s good to give these girls the chance to play at a Central West level, but then to provide the pathway through to NSW and the national stuff … that’s where the girls aspire to get to, and hopefully we’re helping them get there,” Smith said.
The girls trained as a group prior to the Glen Willow match-up, with Smith taking the squad through a series of mini-games as a warm-up.
Smith said the gradual improvement from a lot of first-timers was positive while guns Teagan Miller, Lillyann Mason-Spice and Jakiya Whitfield, all members of the national youth program, led the way on the field.
“We’re just trying to get the girls more opportunity to play rugby and having the Waratahs out (on Saturday) is an opportunity to showcase what the girls can do as well,” Smith added.
“As we [saw], the skill level is quite high.
“They’ve got the ability to play the game and they shift it around as well as the boys in some cases. It’s definitely good to get it out there.”
Players from Brewarrina, Bathurst, Dunedoo, Forbes, Dubbo and Orange took part in the sevens day, a list Smith expects to grow as the sport continues to expand its reach.
“There’s a lot more interest from the girls and we’re getting a few more athletic girls coming to have a look,” he said.