Although Jillaroo and National Indigenous captain Rebecca Young is disappointed the Newcastle Knights won’t have a team in the inaugural women’s NRL competition, she is excited and looking forward to the 2018 season.
It will be an action-packed calendar featuring the first-ever women’s NRL competition, plus the usual representative fixtures of City versus Country, State of Origin, previously the Women’s Interstate Challenge, and test matches await Australia’s best women’s rugby league players later this season.
The re-introduction of the women’s rugby league national championships and the NRL combine for players not included in the top 40 provide ample opportunities for those on the fringe of the NRL to be seen and included.
“I’m obviously disappointed the Knights haven’t been able to put a proposal in at this stage but what we need to focus on is the future and I feel when the Knights are ready - they will be ready to go,” Young said.
“I trust the NRL’s judgment - their structure and criteria and I really just want to have the opportunity to play in this NRL premiership and if selected I will bring passion, loyalty and leadership to the club I go to.
“The NRL clubs have obviously met criteria that we need best to promote the women’s game and that can cater for us right now, as players in showcasing our game.
“It’s a stepping-stone into the premiership and with continual growth of the women’s game it will bring continued quality, which will build a future premiership and hopefully (in time) it will match the men’s structure,” she said.
Young also mentioned the exciting times the 40 contracted players and pays homage to the hard work undertaken by past players and administrators who paved the way for today’s custodians.
Young’s same work ethic has ensured an overflowing resume; a dual rugby union and league international who has played at World Cups in both codes, as well as winning two as a squad member of the Jillaroos and being a team member of the first-ever NSW winning team in the interstate challenge.
She’s also the only player to captain a winning Indigenous All Stars team in 2017.
Both Young and husband Mick - who played 20 NRL matches at hooker for the Knights - have red and blue coursing through their veins and even though she won’t be wearing the red and blue, Young will continue to work hard with the team at grassroots level for CRL Newcastle to empower the next generation of female rugby league players.