Bhawaa Miyaay women’s rugby league host dress up footy fundraiser

Kashona Lavender and Keira Edwards. Keira's late father Barley Edwards designed the team's jerseys, and they will play in his honour this year.

Kashona Lavender and Keira Edwards. Keira's late father Barley Edwards designed the team's jerseys, and they will play in his honour this year.

Formal wear will take to the footy field on Saturday, February 24, as locals risk their fanciest frocks and most dapper suits to support the Bhawaa Miyaay women’s rugby league team.

“It’s just about getting out there, having fun, raising some money for us,” organiser Keira Edwards said.

“It’s not about skill. If you can’t run, it’s ok, you can walk.”

The team formed last year but was unable to compete. This year Bhawaa Miyaay hopes to take part in as many Indigenous competitions as possible, all in honour of Keira’s father, Tingha’s Barley Edwards, who lost his battle with cancer last October. 

Team mates.

Team mates.

“He’d love it. He actually designed our jerseys. So dad would have been so proud of all of us,” Keira said. She said football is a strong theme in her memories of her father, and he encouraged her to play from just five years old. 

“Every weekend he’d go out to watch Tingha or he’d follow the Group 19 boys around,” she said.

“He instilled that passion and pride into me as well.”

With the team name meaning ‘just the girls’ in the Kamilaroi language, there is a strong sense of pride among the team as both women and Aboriginals.

“We know that we have the skills. We know that we are a group of sisters,” Keira said, acknowledging that women were often underrated in rugby league.

“We’re women. Some of us are mothers, some of them are grandmothers.”

The dress up fundraiser will go towards the team’s travel, equipment, insurance and registration fees. 

A round robin tournament of seven rounds will challenge 16 teams to play their best footy in formal wear. Teams can consist of nine to 12 players, with a $50 nomination fee per person. A $1000 prize will be up for grabs in both the female and male competitions. To learn more, visit the Bhawaa Miyaay Facebook page.

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