Country Rugby League's northern draw of the league tag championships will be in Glen Innes on Saturday

A LOCAL TO CHEER ON: Glen Innes' Sarah Byrne will line up for the Greater Northern Tigers in the Country Championships at Mead Park this Saturday.
A LOCAL TO CHEER ON: Glen Innes' Sarah Byrne will line up for the Greater Northern Tigers in the Country Championships at Mead Park this Saturday.

Northern NSW's best league tag players will gather in Glen Innes this Saturday vying for Country Championships glory.

Open and under-16 teams from Greater Northern, Central Coast, Northern Rivers and North Coast will face off for the northern draw title.

It is also the first time under-16s have had a championships and Greater Northern's community engagement officer Craig MacLeod said it is very exciting for the sport.

"For the first time it is a chance to showcase some of the junior girls that play in the under-16s," he said.

"Everyone who has put a side in have all told me how strong their juniors are coming through so it should be good stuff to watch."

Glen Innes minor league earned the rights to host the competition and MacLeod credited the committee for the work they have put in.

"It should be a good day, there will be plenty of people coming along," he said.

"Mark Mcclelland and the committee up there have been really, really good."

Glen Innes have two of their own to cheer on with Kaziah McLaren to line up in the Greater Northern under-16 team and Sarah Byrne in the open's.

The two Greater Northern teams will also be donning the Bulldogs emblem after the region announced a partnership with the Canterbury-Bankstown team earlier in the year.

It is the first time Country Rugby League have conducted a standalone league tag championships with the governing body introducing women's tackle alongside the men's under-23s tournament which was conducted earlier in the year.

Avenues for women in rugby league are opening up with pathways and while the tackle version of the sport has experienced huge growth recently, CRL women's participation officer Kylie Hilder said there will always be room for league tag.

"We don't want to compete with our own sport which is league tag so we are doing our best to accommodate and have both tackle and tag available to girls in the country," she said.

"There is always going to be a space in our game for league tag, you are always going to have those females who don't want to play the contact side of rugby league so we are always going to have league tag.

"League tag has done a phenomenal job in the country to get a lot of clubs back out there playing and it is getting more people involved in the game."

Hilder said the addition of the under-16 fixtures ensures younger women will have more opportunities to develop their skills in the sport.

"We feel there is a need for that because there is a lot of younger competitions starting to happen throughout Country NSW as well," she said.

"At the moment there is no real pathway for tackle in that age group either so were are developing those girls to bring them into league tag if they don't want to play the contact or we are giving them the skills if they want to go into the contact side of it as well."

Game times:

11am: Under-16s Central Coast versus North Coast on Field 1; Northern Rivers versus Greater Northern on Field 2

11.50am: Open's Central Coast versus North Coast on Field 1; Northern Rivers versus Greater Northern on Field 2

12.40pm: Under-16s Central Coast versus Northern Rivers on Field 1; North Coast versus Greater Northern on Field 2

1.30pm: Open's Central Coast versus Northern Rivers on Field 1; North Coast versus Greater Northern on Field 2

2.20pm Under-16s North Coast versus Northern Rivers on Field 1; Central Coast versus Greater Northern on Field 2

3.10pm Open's North Coast versus Northern Rivers on Field 1; Central Coast versus Greater Northern on Field 2

Greater Northern under-16 team: Mackenize Blackadder (Merriwa G21JRL), Ruby Bennett (Singleton G21JRL), Tyla Brown (Scone G21JRL), Chloe De Gunst (Inverell G19JRL), Amiel Griffiths (Inverell G19JRL), Kasey Gaukroger (Armidale G19JRL), Lara Hedley (Scone G21JRL), Matilda Jones (Muswellbrook G21JRL), Jules Kirkpatrick (Singleton G21JRL), Kiarna Landsborough (Armidale G19JRL), Kaziah McLaren (Glen Innes G19JRL), Tishari-Lee Morgan (Inverell G19JRL), Heidi Richards (Muswellbrook G21JRL), Tobey Stewart (Muswellbrook G21JRL), Caitlan Warren (Singleton G21JRL), Emily Watts (Scone G21JRL); coach Kathryn McCulloch (Armidale)

Greater Northern open's team: Amy Barraclough (G19), Sarah Byrne (G19), Emma Carrigan (G4), Sofie Casson (G21), Nautica Eather (G4), Flynn Haggarty (G21), Steph Halpin (G4), Rebecca Hill (G21), Georgina Horniman (G4), Paris Knox (G4), Taneika Landsborough (G19), Jessica Presland (G21), Hannah Rando (G21), Piper Rankmore (G4), Kim Resch (G4), Abby Schmiedel (G4). Coach - Damien Allen (Kootingal).

This story Country Championships a huge coup for Glen Innes first appeared on Glen Innes Examiner.