Playing rugby union has improved the self confidence of a group of young women across the South East and they are now inspired to continue competing in a male-dominated sport.
The Far South Coast Cooma Red Falcons Rugby Union Club is only in its second year, but its teams made it into the semifinals of this year’s competition, held at the weekend.
The club comprises under 14s and under 16s, with about 30 members coming in from the area between Jindabyne, Cooma, Eden and Narooma.
With nine wins and only two losses and one draw over the season, it is not surprising the teenagers feel ready to take on anything.
“I think everyone’s confidence has gotten so much better,” under 16s player Holly Christison said.
Her teammate Molly Carr agreed.
“I used to struggle with speeches and now I’ve been in the Falcons I’m able to speak up,” she said.
“It also helps socialising.”
They are two of about 20 club members who attend Bega High School. Caitlin Reid, who has been with the Falcons for five weeks and also attends the school, said she did not know anyone in the team before she joined.
“It took me a while to get into it, but after I did I loved every minute of it,” she said.
They have plenty of training to do and often have to drive long distances to attend games, so they did face some challenges.
“We’re all so different in personalities and with our abilities, we sometimes struggle,” Molly said.
“But we still work well as a team.
“It’s awesome because of how close we are, we no each other really well and it makes us work better together.”
Coach for the under 16s group Scott Harris could not be happier with how the team has developed.
“They do us proud and they do the region proud,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Falcons were presented a $1000 grant from St George Bank, which will mostly go towards new jerseys but also to new equipment; the “bibs and bobs you need to be able to train”, Mr Harris said.
“We loved what these groups do, supporting young women coming through in sport,” branch manger of Bega St George Bank Brie Nelson said.