Seaforth Raiders boast biggest female membership in NSW

girls rugby club

Seaforth Raiders boast biggest female membership in NSW, as they see huge increase in girls

Girls are proving they enjoy physical sports as much as the boys, as rugby sees huge increase in female members and coaches reveal they are “tougher and smarter” than their male counterparts.

Article published by the Manly Daily by Julie Cross – June 17, 2021

Rugby was once a male-dominated sport, but now it seems girls want a piece of the action too.

They are joining local rugby union clubs in droves, giving the code a welcome boost at a grassroot level.

One club, the Seaforth Raiders on Sydney’s northern beaches, has seen its female members jump from just a handful five years ago to more than 120 today.

Girls now make up a third of the club’s numbers allowing the Seaforth Raiders to boast the largest junior female membership in NSW, and probably Australia.

Miranda Conna (8) and Hallie Brain (9) at the Bantry Bay Reserve in Seaforth. Picture: Christian Gilles

Coach Mania Marsters said “fathers are watching their boys play and realising it is something their daughters can do as well”.

“We want the girls to believe they can do anything and to be confident with their bodies,” he said.

The club welcomes all shapes and sizes, like they do with the boys.

The coaches are also finding out pretty quickly that the girls are faster at picking up skills than their male counterparts – and are just as tough, if not tougher.

Michael Clark, President of the Raiders, said the girls are accepted by the boys.

He said one of the girls was recently awarded player of the match in the U13/U14s boys competition.

The girls’ rugby team at the Bantry Bay Reserve in Seaforth. Picture: Christian Gilles

“The boys see that their female counterparts have the skills and the capabilities,” he said.

In terms of whether girls are tough enough to play rugby, he said they are “just as tough as the boys, if not more so”.

Mr Marsters added that the girls “have a little bit more determination than most boys” and are “smarter at figuring themselves out”.

He also said they were quicker at picking up the skills required.

“Girls are much more receptive and open at training,” Mr Clark agreed.

“They listen and action what they are asked to do a lot quicker than the boys, who are mucking around normally.”

Some of the girls at training at the Bantry Bay Reserve in Seaforth. Picture: Christian Gilles

The girls seem pretty confident of their contributions to the sport too.

Kaila Tuckfield, 14, of Seaforth, started playing in the U6s, and is one of the club’s longest serving players. She said she enjoyed the physical side of the sport and had come to the conclusion that “girls were equally as tough as boys”.

Fellow player Coco Masters, 13, of Dee Why, also started in the U6s, and said she had seen “so many boys cry” during her time on the field. “I think we can take more pain than boys,” she said.

Kaila Tuckfield (14), Alice Cummins (14) and Coco Marsters (13) at the Bantry Bay Reserve in Seaforth. Picture: Christian Gilles

Alice Cummins, 14, of Narraweena and daughter of former professional Damien Cummins,

plays for both the boys and the girls teams and is also captain of the Manly Mermaids, a reps squad.

She said her dad was heavily involved in the sport and rugby had always been part of her life and was a “big part of me”.

Lola Jackman (7), Arabella McCLoy (5) and Chloe McDonald (6) at the Bantry Bay Reserve in Seaforth. Picture: Christian Gilles

She said she enjoyed the strong connection with the girls that was forged while battling it out on the pitch.

She believes she would not get the same bond from any other sport.

She is also not afraid to get hurt, having previously suffered an eight-month concussion and a neck and spine injury.

Lola Jackman (7), Arabella McCloy (5) and Chloe McDonald (6) at the Bantry Bay Reserve in Seaforth. Picture: Christian Gilles

Kaila Tuckfield (14), Alice Cummins (14) and Coco Marsters (13) at the Bantry Bay Reserve in Seaforth. Picture: Christian Gilles

Mr Clarke said a lot of the girls have already played touch footy and it’s just about learning to tackle and ruck.

While others have moved across from other sports such as netball, or they play multiple sports.

He added that another attraction of joining in a rugby club was the fantastic social side, which has always been a strong part of rugby.

Tim Richards, Executive Director of NSW Suburban Rugby Union, confirmed and welcomed the increased interest from girls in the sport, saying it made the clubs “better places”.

He said the great social side of rugby was appealing to girls and it was a sport for all shapes, sizes and levels.

“There is a spot for everyone,” he said.

Some of the girls at training at the Bantry Bay Reserve in Seaforth. Picture: Christian Gilles

Meanwhile, youngster Chloe McDonald, aged 6, of North Balgowlah, who was at training on a bitterly cold night, is embarking on her second season with the Seaforth Raiders and said she doesn’t mind being the only girl in her team.

She regards the boys as her “besties” and said she likes rugby because she “loves scoring tries’.

Leave a Replay

Sign up for our Newsletter

registrations
now open

Register now for: Get Into Rugby Term 1, Minis and Juniors Rugby, Girls Rugby.

Would you like to join the Raiders in 2024, register your interest to stay informed with all updates for our next season.