In it for the hits

Courtney Whitby and Tayla Predebon in their Taree Panthers uniforms. Photo supplied
Courtney Whitby and Tayla Predebon in their Taree Panthers uniforms. Photo supplied

Gloucester’s Tayla Predebon and Courtney Whitby love to play full contact sport and in particular rugby league.

Earlier in 2017, the Gloucester High School students had played Rugby Sevens as part of the Gloucester Cockies Rugby Union Club, as well as playing league for their school.

They both enjoyed playing union, despite not knowing how to play, but their passion lies with league.

As the Gloucester Junior Rugby League didn’t have an active club in 2017, the girls decided they needed to take matters into their own hands and play for Taree.

“I was so nervous, playing with people I’ve played against in other sports,” Courtney confessed.

“But once I got a few hits in I was fine,” she smiled.

Tayla also really likes the full contact aspect of the game.

“You get to hit people and it’s fun,” Tayla grinned.

When asked how they felt about playing in an historically male dominated sport, both agreed with was pretty satisfying to have men come to watch them play and watch them play well.

“It’s not a male sport anymore,” Tayla said.

Both girls have played a range of sports in Gloucester including netball and basketball, where contact is not a big part of the game.

Playing in the six week Country Rugby League Nines Hastings League Women's nine’s was stepping out of the comfort zone of playing for a Gloucester team.

“It was a great experience,” Tayla said. 

“I feel like we are more confident players now.”

After the competition Tayla was selected to play on the Hastings League’s representative side in the trials against other regional areas in Muswellbrook.

She will be taking part in the two match event on Saturday February 10 in a slightly different version of the game which involves more players, 13-a-side and longer halves.

There will also be selectors at the competition looking out for players to represent Northern NSW to play Southern NSW on April 16.