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Grizzlies Welcome Women’s League Team

The University Of Canberra Grizzlies Rugby League team is one of the most successful clubs within the Belconnen region. Now supporting a women’s team, I sat down with co-president Dylan Barton, to find out why the sudden move to add a female team and why other women should join.

Q. Why now add women to the team?
A. Well last year in the ‘George Took’ competition they had a women’s competition but it was pretty small with female involvement and now in 2017 it is pretty much a necessity that each club that has a men’s side to also have a women’s side. This year all eleven teams in the competition have a female side that will run parallel with the men’s competition.

Q. How are the women’s team different to the men’s, can you explain what they do in training, the rules and the different coaches?
A. The obvious main rule difference is that league tag is no contact so its just tags on their hips rather than full contact. However same rules as in rugby league points wise and kicking wise. The current coach Kieran Ellison and assistant coach Jacob Bink are both league tag players themselves with the assistant coach Jacob being an Australian tag player, they bring a lot of experience and credibility to the roles to help develop the skills needed by the girls. In terms of training wise both boys and girls will stretch and warm up together at the start and we will all have a big group chat and then we split off into our respective teams were the girls will focus more on at this stage learning the rules, working out how everyone plays and just general fitness. Then at the end of each session we all come back together and have a bit of a recap and get ready for the next training session at this stage.

Q. Can you explain the culture of the club?
. Originally the Grizzlies were formed by just a group of mates at Australian National University back in early 2009 that just wanted to start a footy club and that culture has carried through to when UC required the team in 2015 after the league team at UC folded a few years prior. We are hoping with that the girls this will come across as well as we want them to become all great friends and join in with the boys as well.

Q. How do you think that the fellow male grizzlies feel about having females at the club, did many of the males bring any of their female friends to come join?
A. A lot of the boys live on university at the residences have brought a lot of their friends across. After talking to everyone at the club, I feel as though everyone is excited about it as we are all meeting new people, which helps with the growing of the club.

Q. What are the skill levels of the girls and how many are there?
A. From what I’ve seen it’s a range from beginner to girls that have been playing for years but they all seem like they definitely know what they are doing. We have been getting about twenty girls showing up to training every Wednesday.

Q. Do you have any team bonding sessions coming up?
A. Yes we do! On the first of April I believe the boys and girls are coming together to play lawn bowls on a Saturday, with the aim of going out afterwards.

Q. What is that going to achieve?
. It will just be a nice social sporting aspect to get everyone mixed together. It is going to be boys verses girls so it is going to be that kind of friendly competition so that everyone can get to know each other and have a laugh, have a drink and become friends.

Q. Why should other girls come sign up and play for the Grizzles?
A. No matter way to get fit and have fun if you ask me!

Q. What are you expecting this yea, from both girls and boys especially entering a new competition and coming back after the boys premiership win?
A. For the boys it will be very interesting as we need to still be very competitive and looking to make finals and if we make the grand final it will be a great achievement. However with the girls we are really just hoping that they are competitive, we will see how they go as it will be their first hit out as part of the club and playing together, hopefully good things will come and that everyone really just has fun and makes some great friends.

Q. When is the first trial game is for the girls and the start of the season?
A. The first trial game is the 25th of March and it is against Bindalong in Bindalong and then our second trial game is the 8th of April and that is the Chris Turner Shield in Boorowa against Boorowa. The official competition then kicks off with our first game Boomanulla at our home ground of Raiders Belconnen in Canberra, which is going to be great as it’s a Friday night.

By Jaylee Ismay

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