The South Sydney Rabbitohs will break new ground in 2018 when they enter a women’s team in the NSWRL’s Harvey Norman Premiership for the first time in the Club’s 110-year history.
In turn, this team gives every female player from the age of six the opportunity to fulfil their dream of playing for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, just as male players have been able to do since 1908.
Players selected to represent the South Sydney Rabbitohs have signed Rabbitohs contracts and will wear the famous Rabbitohs logo on their chest when they take the field. This is a first for the Foundation Club.
Australian Jillaroos squad and training camp members Lavina O’Mealey, Maddie Studdon, Nakia Davis-Welsh and Jasmin Allende will all play for the Rabbitohs in 2018 in the Harvey Norman Premiership.
The Rabbitohs have selected their squad from the 50-plus players who having been training and trialling since November last year. The final squad of 25 players was selected following last Saturday’s internal trial match at Erskineville Oval.
The Rabbitohs will compete against other New South Wales-based teams in the women’s competition, won in 2017 by the Redfern All Blacks. The team will be coached by Danny Allende and managed by Sharon Maza who were both part of the victorious Redfern All Blacks team last season.
The Rabbitohs will compete in the top tier competition in New South Wales, with teams from the South Sydney junior league such as the Redfern All Blacks and Marrickville RSL feeding into the Rabbitohs’ senior team.
This Rabbitohs team will provide a pathway for female players in the South Sydney district to play from the under 6s through to the senior top-tier level in this State, and possibly on to representative honours.
Girls can play in mixed teams up until the age of 12, at which point female players can play in teams supported by the South Sydney Juniors at the under 14s, under 16s, under 18s and open-age levels. Players can also be selected to represent Souths Juniors in the Tarsha Gale Cup under 18s nine-a-side team. Players from the Tarsha Gale Cup as well as over-age players participating in the open-age second tier sides will then have the opportunity to be selected for the Rabbitohs in the Harvey Norman Premiership team.
With this pathway comes the opportunity for boys and girls growing up in the South Sydney district to play Rugby League and to fulfill their dreams of representing the Rabbitohs.
Rabbitohs General Manager of Football, Shane Richardson, is excited about the Club’s first official women’s team.
“The women’s game is growing at an increasing rate and it is wonderful that the Rabbitohs will be represented at the senior level for the first time this season as we celebrate 110 years,” Mr Richardson said.
“This team will give every boy and girl that plays in the South Sydney Juniors’ competition the opportunity to progress through our pathways with the chance of playing for the Rabbitohs.”
“Our Harvey Norman Premiership team will play in a number of curtain raiser matches at ANZ Stadium this year, prior to the men’s team, so we encourage all of our Members to get out to the games early and support the women’s team as strongly as they do the men’s side.
“The game has taken great strides in promoting the women’s game and increasing the influence that women across the board have on the sport, whether they are players, administrators, volunteers or Members.”
The Rabbitohs have made their submission to the NRL to field a team in the proposed NRLW competition slated for later this year.
“We are a Foundation Club of Rugby League in Australia, right back to 1908,” Mr Richardson said.
“Our submission strongly supports our case to be a Foundation Club in the NRL’s Women’s competition 110 years later.”
The South Sydney Rabbitohs Women's squad is: