Mildura Weekly : Friday July 11 Vol 8 No 36
www.milduraweekly.com.au 46 Mildura Weekly – 11/07/14 By ADAM LUITJES SICK of watching their male counterparts have all the fun on the rugby field, a group of local women have banded together to get the Sunraysia Women’s Rugby League competition back up and running. After spending last year in re- cess, two clubs – Mildura Warriors and Mildura Tigers – have sup- plied teams for the 2014 season. The competition was officially formed in 2012, but due to a lack of interest only lasted half a sea- son. Unfortunately, the second at- tempt is going down a similar path, and with only two teams and lack of numbers, players and administrators are fighting an up- hill battle. “We really need volunteers, because the women need their own coaches and trainers,” Mil- dura Warriors half-back Darlene Thomas explained. “We need help organising the competition, and encouraging the younger ones to get involved.” A passionate rugby supporter, Darlene works as a development officer for rugby union side the Melbourne Rebels. She says she wanted to play rugby in Sunraysia after watching her male counterparts from the sidelines. “I saw the boys smashing each other up and wanted to give it a crack,” she said. “I was involved when the competition first start- ed, and went around harassing the girls to start forming teams.” Despite the slow start, Darlene believes the sport has a bright fu- ture in the region. “We are progressing towards Robinvale joining next year,” she said. “They have the numbers, so hopefully they can get enough sponsorship to form a team. “At the moment the Tigers are struggling for numbers, and we haven’t played for a number of weeks, so it would be good to have more teams.” Although rugby league is known for its physicality, Darlene says that shouldn’t deter women from joining. “Rugby’s great for health and fitness,” she said. “It’s important for women not to be scared, be- cause it’s not as bloodied or dan- gerous as people think. “Coaches ensure we learn how to tackle correctly, fall safely and pass properly.” With the women playing on the same day as the men, Darlene says the rugby has become a fam- ily event. “It’s great for kids to watch their mums, aunties, dads, broth- ers and cousins all playing,” she said. “My daughter and niece play, and it really is a family affair.” Having represented the Cook Islands in rugby union for two years, Mildura Tigers captain Mayla Rabana is one of her team’s best players. She says that despite having only 13 players – and experienc- ing plenty of losses – her team- mates are still having fun. “One time we played a six-on- six game against Warriors, and had no-one on the bench,” she said. “We got smashed, but it was worth a try, and the girls still got to play. “It’s hard getting numbers together, and sometimes we are lucky to get a full team.” A rugby tragic, Mayla said the competition will get better once more teams join. “It gets very boring playing against the same team all the time,” she said. “Hopefully Robin- vale and Dareton can have teams, because we want to make this big, and get everyone involved. “The thing about rugby is you don’t have to be big and strong, you can be small and skinny and still enjoy the game.” Sunraysia Rugby League presi- dent Ted Guinea regarded the women’s competition as a posi- tive for the league, and said he was “certainly hoping” to see it grow. More information on the Sun- raysia Women’s Rugby League competition is available by con- tacting Darlene on 0498 018 407, or Mayla on 0498 676 115. Horse Complex fund-raiser one for all-comers Women tackle rugby challenge head on • RUGBY FUN: TOP – Mildura Tigers captain Mayla Rabana (centre), and Mildura Warriors players Darlene Thomas (left) and Tamara Handy are urging more local women to give the sport a go. Women’s rugby league is growing across the globe, ABOVE. HORSE Complex Inc. will be hold its annual Pre-Mildura Show fund-raising event this Sunday from 9am at the Sunraysia Eques- trian Centre (located next to the Mildura Racecourse). The day will include Equestri- an Australia-affiliated open hack- ing events, with breed classes, a beginners ring and novelty and show jumping rings to be avail- able for riders of all abilities. Catering will be available throughout the day, with pro- grams available through local saddlery and fodder stores, or on the Mildura Horse Complex Face- book page. All profits will go toward funding the equestrian section of the 2014 Mildura Show, with more information available by contacting Anne-Marie on 0412 783 290. Swimmers ready for Dustbuster challenge SUNRAYSIA’S promising swimmers will hit the Mil- dura Waves pool tomorrow afternoon with one goal – to achieve qualification times for a number of upcoming meets – including the Victori- an Country and State Cham- pionships. Competing at the Dust- busters meet, 24 Sunraysia- based swimmers will com- pete in more than 40 events, and will be joined by swim- mers from Berri, Broken Hill, Horsham, Silver City and Bal- larat. Sunraysia Swimming In- corporated coach and public- ity officer, Emily McClelland, said local swimmers had been training six days a week in the lead up to the event. “Our swimmers are ready to go,” she said. “For the ma- jority of them it’s about earn- ing good times, and hopeful- ly qualifying for the Country and State Championships. “Several swimmers have already qualified for those two meets, so tomorrow is a chance to improve their times even further, and work their way into a better heat posi- tion.” Emily said several Sun- raysia-based ‘super-fish’ were expected to perform well in their pet events this weekend. “Hailey Mason (aged 16) has been really strong in training, and I would expect her to dominate the meet – especially in her pet event, the butterfly,” she said. “Kunind Oberoi (13) has also looked strong, and while he has already achieved state times, he’ll be looking to im- prove those times – especially in the 50m freestyle.” The Dustbuster meet will run from 2pm to 6pm tomor- row at Mildura Waves, with interested spectators encour- aged to attend.
Friday July 4 Vol 8 No 35
Friday July 18 Vol 8 No 37