Brumbies throw open Super W doors to recruit multi-sport athletes

New Brumbies women's coach Tony Doherty and player  Jane Garroway. Photo by Karleen Minney.
New Brumbies women's coach Tony Doherty and player Jane Garroway. Photo by Karleen Minney.

New ACT Brumbies women's coach Tony Doherty will throw open the door to cross-code players if they want to be a part of the inaugural Super W season next year.

An extended Brumbies squad started training just days after Rugby Australia unveiled its plans for a women's competition to rival the AFLW and the NRL.

The timing of the five-week rugby union season in March will allow female rugby league players to switch codes if they want to test themselves in the Super W.

Doherty has issued an open invitation to anyone interested in joining the team, with 45 players turning up to the first field session last weekend.

He is hoping more players show interest after a brief break for Christmas, before trimming the squad to 30 for the four regular season games against teams from NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia.

"The fact this is going to happen in 2018 is great," Doherty said.

"For the girls themselves, it's absolutely awesome we've got an elite competition about to start. A lot of them have played at [national championships], but I think the fact they get to run out as the Brumbies in Super Rugby, it's phenomenal.

"I think pressure from other sports like cricket, AFL, NRL coming along with women's sport, Rugby Australia has turned around and said 'let's get on with it'.

"There's a little bit of scrambling to get everything right, but we're full steam ahead. It's open to anyone from any sport, we have multi-talented players and we're happy for any players to come along."

The Brumbies women will take their first steps when they play in the Brisbane 10s tournament alongside some of the best players in the world at the Super Rugby pre-season event.

The Canberra women's competition could be bolstered next year by the inclusion of a team from Braidwood, while the Gungahlin women's side has already started training.

The ACT representative side made the national championship grand final this year, but the implementation of the Super W formalises a competition rather than playing a weekend tournament.

There is also the option to train alongside the Brumbies men's side given the teams will both be based at the University of Canberra before the Super W season starts in March.

The players won't be paid, but they will have travel costs and gym memberships covered by Rugby Australia.

"I think there's a really good future in women's rugby and this competition is really going to boost the participation numbers and opportunities we have," said scrumhalf Jane Garraway.

"We've had really good numbers at training, it's going to be really tough to make that final squad. But it's just exciting to have the opportunity to play in a competition of this level."

This story Brumbies throw open Super W doors to recruit multi-sport athletes first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.