When the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys-based NRL development team first suggested a schoolgirls' rugby league challenge as a way of promoting and increasing girls' participation in sport, they weren’t too sure of the response they would get.

They shouldn’t have worried – the inaugural Cowboys Schoolgirl Challenge held last year proved a great success, and demonstrated the interest among girls in playing rugby league. 

Fast forward to 2014 and this year's challenge being held at the Townsville District Junior Rugby League Grounds today is even bigger.  

“We’re expecting about 300 girls from 20 different secondary schools from across North Queensland,” Game Development Officer – Northern Liam Bartlett explained.

“We structure the challenge so that we cater for girls who are new to playing rugby league as well as those who are experienced in playing the game.

“We have competitive and non-competitive games for the 14-16 year olds and 16+ age groups and a heap of game development activities for the under 14s.”

The fun day of rugby league with a serious message that girls can play any sport will see 27 teams from secondary schools as far afield as Mackay and Innisfail travelling to Townsville for the event.

The Cowboys Schoolgirl Challenge is supported by the Queensland Government as part of its commitment to increase female participation in sport and active recreation.