Why North Rocky’s rugby league girls ones to watch in 2021
COACH Tyron Harvey is excited for what 2021 will hold in store for North Rockhampton State High’s female rugby league players.
COVID-19 this year denied the school’s three teams (Year 7/8, Year 9/10 and open) the chance to compete in the local inter-school competition and the statewide Karyn Murphy Cup, where they’ve enjoyed considerable success in the past couple of years.
However, they did get to compete in a number of make-up games, in which the Year 9/10 outfit excelled.
Harvey organised games against Rockhampton High and Yeppoon High, Bundaberg State High and Bundaberg’s Shalom College.
North Rocky won all four games, scoring 150 points and conceding just 32.
Harvey was particularly impressed with the win against Shalom, given they fielded their Year 10/11 team.
“I was confident in our girls and I wanted to stretch them and push them a little bit,” he said.
“We came out on top in that one as well. It was 24-12 in the end, and it was still a pretty convincing win.”
Harvey said some of the standout performers were forwards Chloe Tipman, Zahnaya Farrell, Taleigha Leefe and Janae Jarrett-Lawton, fullback Tamika Little and halfback Lana Pendlebury-Bone.
“The combinations of those age groups change each year; it’s always a bit of a different dynamic to work with so I’m excited about how I’ll put the teams together,” he said.
“The girls are pretty primed to have a proper year next year, and I’ve done a lot of work to prepare for that and make sure we hit the ground running.”
Harvey was also at the helm of the school’s boys team which won the Open B title in the Rockhampton District Secondary Schools Rugby League competition this year.
He said the school’s strong connection with the game was helping to foster growth in the female ranks.
“A lot of our girls come from families who are heavily invested in their rugby league,” he said.
“I think in the program’s infancy, our girls found success based on the raw talent that we had.
“Once you’ve started with success, it’s easier to build off that because people are more inclined to want to be part of something if they know they can be successful.
“I’m trying to use that to my advantage in terms of building on the successes that are already there.”
Harvey is looking to build momentum and capitalise on the fact girls are choosing rugby league as their primary sport.
He wants to make their involvement holistic, focusing more attention on strength and conditioning, nutrition and preparation and recovery.
He said the enthusiasm and commitment shown by the players was amazing.
“We were getting squad numbers, not just team numbers to training,” he said.
“I put at the top of my list in terms of selection behaviour and attendance at school and at training, and it got to a point where I didn’t want to cut anyone.
“Their eagerness was probably the greatest thing for me.
“I want to show our girls that North Rocky is the place to be if they want to be successful in rugby league.”
“Winning and succeeding is great but that’s not my ultimate goal; my ultimate goal is to teach them to be better people and reinforce the importance of committing to things like training and being prepared to work hard.”