Regional girls see a shot at NRL
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Mackay region could be the home of some new NRL superstars as two of our women's players have advanced to the next level in an elite pathway program.
Brianna Clarke and Rangimarie Bruce were both invited to the next high performance camp following success at the Mackay NRL Talent ID which was held in September at Souths Leagues Club.
The duo will join about 50 players hand-picked across Australia at the Gold Coast camp where they will be trialled on their athletic ability.
"It's unbelievable, was a massive shock hearing that, but it's all exciting,” Magpies second rower Brianna Clarke said.
Clarke hopes to follow in the footsteps of Mackay's Brittany Breayley, who was a frontrunner in the inaugural 2018 NRLW season, and join the ranks of the Brisbane Broncos.
"This is probably the highest thing I've achieved ... hopefully it leads to an NRL contract,” she said.
"I've always looked up to Breayley and particularly Renae Kunst.”
At Clarke's back is Moranbah Miners jack of all trades Rangi Bruce, who has thrived in a competitive environment despite only having four years' experience in rugby league.
The rookie said that when she first picked up a ball she never dreamed it would take her this far.
Now, however, Bruce said she planned to see it all the way through.
"I was just playing for a social thing with my sister, she wanted me to play so I gave it a go a few years ago,” she said.
"To play sport with my family was one of my big goals in life, and now I'm here.”
The looming camp is the second of the 2019 Elite Female Rugby League Pathways Development Program, which aims to install the skill set, coaching and education to create thriving athletes in the female rugby league community and assist aspiring players to reach a higher level.
"It's going to be a bit full on, but I can't wait,” Bruce said.
With access to a higher talent pool, the two rural girls said it would help them to improve their footballing skills.
"I'm only new to footy, so playing against these other girls helps me out,” Bruce said.
"I really learn off them and I never expected to get this far.”
Clark said she would be soaking up as much information as she can in the coming month to make her NRL dreams a reality.
"I need as much training and help as I can, so this has us learning from the best,” she said.
The Mackay duo will join the NRL Elite Female Programs team of Simon Buxton, the elite female performance manager, Sally Clarke, the elite female program coordinator, and Jamie Feeney, the elite female pathways manager.
They all bring considerable years of training and experience to the camp which will run from November 29 to December 2. "We're one of the closest to the elite (in Mackay), it's amazing.”