With the Riverina Bulls naming their men’s side for the upcoming Country Championships last week, women’s coach, Andrew Hinchliffe, is working harder than ever to assemble a side that can replicate their championship success in 2019.
“We have sent out expressions of interest and we are looking to build a quality side,” Hinchcliffe said.
“We are preferably after girls that have some experience playing tackle and who have previously represented Riverina.”
Women can still apply to make the side without the Riverina experience, but Hinchcliffe explained that he was after dedicated players.
“We will take all girls, and just pick a side based on what talent we have turn up on the day,” Hinchcliffe said.
“We need girls that are keen to train through January and February though, and play at least two games after that.”
Riverina will play GSR Tigers in Camden on February 28, followed by a second-round match against Illawarra on March 7.
Hinchcliffe wanted to remind potential players that representing the Riverina is a proven pathway to the Women’s NRL and Australian representative honours.
“The biggest thing for the girls to get out of this is that they are playing at a higher level and playing with the best players across the Riverina and testing themselves by playing against the best women in NSW,” Hinchcliffe said.
“Some girls have the ambition to go on and play further, and this is a proven pathway that has been identified, with Takilele Katoa having played for us in 2019 before playing with the Dragons in the WNRL.
“Tess Staines from Leeton is another one who has gone on to play for Australia, and both of their rugby league careers have been furthered by their participation in the Country Championships with the Riverina Bulls.”
Hinchcliffe said there was an air of expectation around the Bulls in 2021, but understood that the recent Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertainty of competitions made things harder for some players.
“Something I included in the email I sent to the current girls is that we certainly want to continue with the success from the last couple of years, and there is an air of expectation that we will do well,” Hinchcliffe said.
“There are a few challenges, especially with us not having an identified squad at the moment, and that we are only three months away from playing, but I am sure we can work past all of that.”
For players who have not yet been contacted by Hinchcliffe, the Bulls coaching is asking potential players to contact Group 9 over Facebook, or email [email protected]