Central North women trial for UNE Lions in Tamworth

Central North’s women’s rugby union side competed in the final trial for the UNE Lions AON series in Tamworth on Sunday.

With representation from the Inverell Highlanders by players Rhiannon Byers, Lauren Nott and Monique McCoy the side played three games.

Coach Dale Beattie said girls from the central coast, mid-north coast, Queensland and even New Zealand were present in Tamworth eager to make the final cut.

“We had a girl fly in from NZ, Leah Wilson, who also played for us on the weekend.

“The final 24-player squad should be submitted to Rugby Australia by the end of the week,” he said.

Central North girls played three consistent games on Sunday against Central Coast, Mid-North Coast and then a final mixed, potential match-up clash.

I am expecting a few [Inverell] Highlanders to make the cut.

Dale Beattie.

“The girls were great, particularly defensively.

“We were missing a number of key players due to other commitments however they all played well and the games were very close.” 

Sunday was the fourth discovery tournament held as part of the UNE Lions selections starting at the Country Championships in Warren.

The girls then played in Newcastle, Wauchope and finally Tamworth covering most of the major regional areas.

“We tried hitting the areas were were looking to have players trial from. We have strong association with NSW Country so the UNE Lions is basically the country representation in the entire circuit.

“We tried to grasp that connection and give as many opportunities to country players as we could to play on the national circuit,” he said.

Beattie said the increased knowledge and experience could be seen week-in, week-out with the girls which fed back into their local clubs.

“The whole standard of the competition has improved from the start of the discovery series to now.

“Good luck to all Central North Girls who trialled and with any luck we will see a number selected.

“I am expecting a few Highlanders to make the cut,” he said. The UNE Lions side should be named as early as next week.