Regardless of today’s elimination final result against the Truganina Rabbitohs, what the Northern Thunder have been able to achieve this year means more than winning games of rugby league.
The Thunder came into the competition in Round 11 and while they haven’t got the results on the field, they’ve been able to lay the foundation that will hopefully help propel the women’s side to greater heights in 2023.
Club president Matt Lane said he was proud of what the side was able to achieve given the challenging circumstances that were thrown their way.
“Since the Covid break we’ve lost a fair few girls, so just to get on the field is a monumental effort in itself,” Lane said.
“We might be depleted at the moment but there are a lot of players that are mums and have families who are sacrificing their time to make this match at least a possibility,” he said.
Lane said that while the team only came together midway through this season, he hopes it will help the club build towards a stronger side in 2023.
“It came about from a couple of players like Ojae Aiolupotea that just wanted to play as well as the masters competition that was held and it all just snowballed from there.”
“We have got a couple of girls coming through from the U17’s next year, while obviously it’s not ideal to chuck them straight from 17’s to opens, at least there’s a crop of young girls coming through the ranks,” he said.
“I think we only have a few girls that are hanging up the boots, so it’s just about seeing whether the girls this year enjoyed it but we just haven’t had that conversation about next year as this weekend is our priority.”
As for the current crop of female players coming through the Thunder system, Lane said he was excited about the future prospects at the club.
“We started the year with no girls in any of the grades but by the time Round 4 rolled around we had our 13’s and 17’s teams so hopefully next year we can roll out teams in all the divisions,” he said.
“These girls have the choice of AFL or rugby league and at the moment we are just glad they are choosing rugby league”