Rugby league nines hits the ground running

MAKING INROADS: South West Robin's Jodie Howarth and Uralla Tigers' Ella Elks at the first round of Group 4's nines. Photo: Country Rugby League.

MAKING INROADS: South West Robin's Jodie Howarth and Uralla Tigers' Ella Elks at the first round of Group 4's nines. Photo: Country Rugby League.

Uralla Tigers started the Group 4 rugby league nines tournament exceeding their expectations, scoring a big win in their first game. 

Taking on South West Robins, the Tigers were too good, posting 18 points to four. 

In their second game against Bendemeer, Uralla just missed out on the victory 12-8. 

Team manager Hannah Skewes was excited when the nines competition was launched and said it was fun to finally take the field. 

“We all had heaps of fun, no one got injured so we will all be ready to go in two weeks time again. 

“I think we all just really enjoyed it, there wasn't anyone that we talked to that didn't enjoy it and wasn't interested in coming back.” 

Skewes said leading into it they weren’t sure if their lack of experience would hinder their ability to compete with more seasoned Tamworth teams but their camaraderie helped them find their feet. 

“We played really well as a team which we knew we would, if anything we wouldn't be lacking in how we worked as a team it would more so be the fact it would be something totally different and something we haven't done before,” she said. 

“We went into it believing that there would be so many other teams that were so much above us, like they'd tried it before and they would all go out there knowing what to do while we might be a bit more hesitant to try stuff.

“We came into it pretty well and most of the other teams were in the same position we were.

“It was a really equal playing field in regards to that.”

The majority of Uralla’s team is made up of league tag players. 

The tackle version of the sport was a shock to the system but Skewes said they won’t be hesitant for the next round. 

“I love it and I would really like to see it take off a little bit more than what we have got at the moment,” she said. 

“You wake up on Sunday and it was so hard to get out of bed, you are sore because it is stuff your body hasn't done before but I did not wake up regretting anything or not wanting to go and do it in two weeks time. 

“We had that much fun.”

Women’s rugby league is one of the fastest growing areas of sport in the state and Skewes said the popularity of the nines concept was evident on Saturday. 

“It is a bit thing to try and get up and running and I understand a lot of comps and a lot of Groups have not quiet engaged the public as well and got people into it but the Tamworth area is that well behind this sort of stuff, it is so good to see everyone out there supporting us for the day,” she said. 

“I think nearly half the crowd were Uralla people, we had that many supporters there that drove all the way from Uralla down to watch us play so it was just so great to see the community get behind us.

“We couldn't do it without the Uralla Tigers football club having their involvement. 

“Having most of the community behind us is really, really great. It's great to have that support and such good organisation on the day.”