For the first time, North Queensland female rugby league talent can access elite development and coaching without having to move away from home with the Toyota Cowboys’ Women’s Academy launched today.
The academy brings the region a step closer to calling a NRLW their own and comes just before round one of the second NRLW season.
The women’s academy coaches will travel to Cairns, Townsville and Mackay to deliver a minimum of six sessions annually and will work with the QRL, NRL, clubs and schools to involve female talent.
Players aged over 15 will be identified and invited to participate in the academy delivering skills enhancement, best practice training techniques and facilities, support and guidance, and elite-level coaching.
The academy furthers the Cowboys commitment to women’s participation in rugby league, as explained by Cowboys chief operating officer Micheal Luck.
“We’ve been proactive in supporting the female grassroots and local league this year in Cairns, Townsville and Mackay with our women’s program and will continue to progress this next year, along with starting our women’s academy,” he said.
The Cowboys’ 2019 women’s program includes sponsorship of the QRL Northern Region Women’s Championship; Townsville, Cairns and Mackay District Women’s Rugby League; support of the Karyn Murphy Cup; and a girl’s clinic hosted in partnership with Harvey Norman.
“Our intent with the Women’s Academy is to focus on elite development,” Luck said.
“It will eventually lead to the club entering a NRLW team that is genuinely representative of the Cowboys and the incredible talent and potential of female players in our region.”
The very first academy participants present at the launch today were:
- Romy Teitzel (Western Lions), 20
- Riu Te Hiko (Western Lions), 18
- Shanaye Watson (Townsville Brothers), 17
- Jasmine Peters (Mackay Brothers), 17
The four participants will join a roster of talent led by Cowboys elite pathways coach Ben Jeffries who leverages his current leadership of the men’s elite pathways program and his experience coaching women’s teams.
Jeffries has spent the last four years coaching girls and women’s teams at all levels of the game, most recently taking on the role of head coach for the Queensland U18s team.
“The Cowboys academy will deliver the core skills of rugby league which will enhance their skill level and understanding of the game to put them in better stead for each level they participate in,” Jeffries said.
“There are female players who have the potential to play representative football, but they’ve not been able to access the consistent training they need to meet the standards.”
“The difficult thing with the North Queensland location is the travel required to attend training and a great aspect of the academy is that we will come to the players to deliver consistent sessions.”
“It will give players an edge in between competitions and will give them access to elite pathways.”
Tully-born Romy Teitzel plays for Western Lions in the newly formed Townsville women’s competition and will join the Women’s Academy sessions when they’re delivered next year.
“This is a very exciting opportunity, especially for someone that’s homegrown here in North Queensland,” Teitzel said.
“I think it’s the perfect opportunity for young women like myself to be identified and to develop our skills and hopefully reach that pathway to NRLW.”
If given the opportunity to pull on the jersey for a Cowboys NRLW team Teitzel said she’d grab it with both hands.
“It would be awesome to stay up here in North Queensland and to showcase our talent to everyone out there.”
For more information: www.cowboys.com.au/womens-academy