FOUR Taree Panthers players have been named in the Hastings women’s rugby league team to play in trials for the Northern NSW representative side this weekend in Muswellbrook.
They are Tayla Predebon, Brearna Hoole, Nicole Griffis and Leteah Mitchell. All were selected following the Hastings League women’s nines competition that concluded in December. However, matches this weekend will be 13-a-side and that’ll be a new experience for the majority of members of the Hastings League squad.
Hastings League, Groups Four, 19, 21, Central Coast, Newcastle and Western Region will be involved in this weekend. From here a Northern NSW side will be named to meet Southern NSW on April 14. This will act as a trial for the Country team to meet City at Mudgee before the St George/Canberra NRL match in May.
Hastings League chief executive Geoff Connor said the Hastings side has been training under Glen Bampton since Christmas.
“This is going to be a huge learning curve – playing 13-a-side,’’ he admitted.
“The game is more structured and a lot different to nines. But they’re all keen and this will be a great experience for them.”
He said Tayla Predebon, who travelled from Gloucester to play with Taree in the Hastings Nines, shows great promise.
“She's 17 so she only just makes the cut, but she’ll go well this weekend,’’ he said.
Hastings will play Group Four in their opening game at 11am tomorrow.
CRL female participation officer Kylie Hilder said players who turned out for North Newcastle in last year’s NSW Women’s Premiership will be available for selection in the Northern NSW team. This includes Hilder and Old Bar’s Holli Wheeler. Both represented Country in last season’s inaugural clash against City. However, they won’t be involved this weekend’s program.
Hilder understands the majority of players this weekend at Muswellbrook will be new to 13-a-side football, but never-the-less this will be a stepping stone to selection in the Australian Jillaroos squad.
Connor confirmed there will be a nines later this year while the Hastings League will also run a 13-a-side competition during the winter.