2017 Press Releases Friday 31st March 2017 Women make League history APRIL 3 2017 – 2:30PM North Newcastle squad confident in state competition after historic victory for Knights | photos Josh Callinan Bec Young Pictures from Fairfax Digital Collection North Newcastle skipper Bec Young is confident her squad can compete for the Sydney Women’s Metropolitan Rugby League crown in 2017 following a historic performance on Saturday. Young and many of her Norths teammates played in the first ever Newcastle Knights women’s team, defeating a star-studded Cronulla squad 16-12 in an exhibition match after the NRL fixture between the same clubs at Shark Park. The victory has given the group a distinctive boost ahead of their scheduled season opener with the Greenacre Tigers on April 29. “Although you’ve got to tweak it a little bit and change your game plans, it’s still rugby league and the girls knowing they can tackle the best players in Australia,” Young said. “You come up against them week after week so when it comes to the season we know we’ve done it before, so we know we can do it again.” Young said the weekend’s experience was a significant moment for those involved, women’s rugby league in the Hunter region and promoting an all-female NRL-style competition. “It was like a day in the life of a Newcastle Knight and we loved it,” she said. Jayme Fressard scored the match winner for the Knights late in the piece after Kylie Hilder and Isabelle Kelly crossed either side of the break. http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4571757/norths-in-womens-trophy-race-after-knights-showing/ MAY 5 2017 – 8:07PM North Newcastle part of league history Josh Callinan TRIUMPH: North Newcastle trio Bec Young, Caitlin Moran and Simone Smith celebrate after the Jillaroos’ 16-4 victory over the Kiwi Ferns in Canberra on Friday. Picture: Getty Images. North Newcastle’s newly formed women’s squad will play part in two significant rugby league moments within the space of 24 hours. The squad will have its first Sydney Women’s Metropolitan Rugby League game at home ground Passmore Oval on Saturday after star trio Bec Young, Caitlin Moran and Simone Smith helped Australia to a 16-4 Test win over New Zealand in Canberra on Friday. “It is very special,” North Newcastle’s Margaret Watson said. “The gentlemen who have come back and put in all the effort to re-establish the team have done a great job. And the men’s players have been great as well. We do team runs against them on Friday night and it’s a shift where the women’s team is an equal part of the club.” Watson is one of seven North Newcastle players in the NSW Country squad. The former Australian rugby union representative will be joined by Phoebe Desmond, Jerry Burgmann, Kylie Hilder, Donna Sutton, Amy Broadhead and Alicia Martin in a fixture against City at North Sydney next Sunday (May 14). North Newcastle, who lost round one 50-12 to the Greenacre Tigers last weekend, tackle the Redfern All Blacks at Passmore Oval on Saturday (3pm). Young, Moran and Smith aren’t likely to back up for North Newcastle but will play an important role throughout the 2017 campaign. It is the first time North Newcastle, one of the Hunter region’s foundation clubs from 1910, have fielded a women’s team. In recent seasons much of the squad played in the same state tackle competition under the Hunter Stars banner and prior to that with Maitland. AAP reports: The Australian Jillaroos have avenged last year’s Test loss to the New Zealand Kiwi Ferns with a gritty 16-4 win in Canberra. The Jillaroos continued their dominance of the Ferns from the Auckland Nines whitewash and turned the tables on last year’s 26-16 loss by winning a bruising Friday’s double header. Home captain Ruan Sims was named best afield after leading her side’s pack through the middle in a tough encounter. http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4644042/north-newcastle-part-of-league-history/ JULY 14 2017 – 8:00PM Newcastle’s Bec Young leads NSW defence of women’s State of Origin Renee Valentine FACEBOOKSHARE TWITTERTWEET EMAIL HEAD-TURNER: Bec Young, right, and Isabelle Kelly, left, make a tackle for the Indigenous All Stars at McDonald Jones Stadium in February. Both will represent NSW against Queensland on July 23. Picture: Jonathan Carroll The stage is set and the stakes are high for North Newcastle’s Bec Young, Caitlin Moran and Isabelle Kelly. The pair will line up for NSW as they defend their women’s State of Origin title against Queensland in Wollongong on July 23. But there is plenty more on the line. The match will be the last chance for players to state their cases for World Cup selection. It is also being televised live for the first time, giving them one shot at showcasing women’s rugby league as a product. “There are many pressures going into the game and, for it to be live on TV, you do have to be the best because you want to put the best product out there,” Young said. “If we go out there and don’t play good footy, it’s not going to get bums on seats and it’s not going to get participation levels up. “People want to see great footy, they want to see quality and the skill level and I believe we’ve got that. “As a product the women’s rugby league game is there and we’re going to hopefully turn some heads after people have watched that game.” At 35, Bec Young is the oldest player in the NSW squad. She has seen many changes in the past seven years as a NSW player. One of those came last week when NSW Rugby League announced the landmark decision to offer paid contracts for Blues players. Young, who juggles a full-time sporting commitment with motherhood and running a family business, did not think she would see that happen in her time. “I feel it’s a massive reward for the older players who have paved the way and laid that foundation to where we are now, where we’ve all moved to that elite pathway level and we’re training like elite athletes,” Young said. “Now it feels like we’re actually getting reward for that, for the sacrifices that we’re making – family time and even work – because it’s extremely hard.” READY: Newcastle’s Bec Young, left, and Caitlin Moran are in the Blues squad. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers Young said the move shows how far the women’s game has progressed in recent years and signals a shift towards an eventual professional set-up. “My first year [for NSW] was in 2011 and we didn’t have to pay for our flights; that was something exciting,” Young said. “Seven years later, we’ve had eight training camps where food is supplied. Back in 2011 you had to pack your own lunch when you went to a training camp. “You’ve got ice baths and a recovery program … flights, accommodation. We stayed at the sport and rec camp in 2011 in double bunks and we’ve now moved on to the Novotel in queen beds. “I feel that those little changes each year are getting bigger and bigger and I can definitely see very close in the future an elite program for women to play rugby league.” Last year NSW broke Queensland’s 16-year stranglehold to win the interstate battle for the first time. There is “no way” the Blues intend to give back the trophy. “It felt like relief and it felt like everything we’re doing is going in the right direction,” Young said. “We know that we can’t just rest on one win, you can’t just rest on your laurels and say, we’ve won it once. Now we’ve won it, this is way more important to defend it.” The match will be televised live on FoxLeague from 11.30am on July 23. http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4790586/women-ready-to-state-case-for-games-future/ AUGUST 4 2017 – 12:04PM Rugby League: North Newcastle trio split in Jillaroos merit squad Josh Callinan FACEBOOKSHARE TWITTERTWEET EMAIL MIXED: North Newcastle’s Bec Yopung, Caitlin Moran and Isabelle Kelly. Picture: NSWRL Media Dual international Bec Young missed out but North Newcastle teammates Caitlin Moran and Isabelle Kelly have been named in the Jillaroos merit squad. The Australian women’s rugby league announcement was made on Friday morning and comes after the trio helped NSW claim back-to-back Interstate Challenge titles over Queensland last month. Jillaroos coach Brad Donald picked 17 players with just over 100 days left until the World Cup kicks off in Sydney. “We’re fortunate to have an incredibly talented and committed playing group at the elite level of the women’s game and at a time when women’s pathways in rugby league has never been stronger,” Donald told NRL media. “Those in this merit team not only deserve to be named due to their on-field performance, but every one of them has gone above and beyond to include and embrace new audiences, fans and participants, particularly in the lead up to the Interstate Challenge. “As a Jillaroos squad, which includes a majority of members from both Interstate Challenge teams, a representative from each affiliated state, and a member of the victorious Australian Defence Force World Cup winning team, we now set our sights on preparing for the rugby league World Cup. “Whilst those who were named in the inaugural merit team deserve recognition, we refocus now as one team with one goal and that is to defend the World Cup on home soil.” The Jillaroos won their first World Cup in England in 2013. JILLAROOS INTERSTATE CHALLENGE MERIT TEAM Sam Bremner (NSW) Karina Brown – Easts Tigers (QLD) Isabelle Kelly (NSW) Corban McGregor (NSW) Jessica Sergis – Cronulla-Caringbah (NSW) Caitlin Moran – North Newcastle (NSW) Maddie Studdon – Redfern All Blacks (NSW) Ruan Sims – Cronulla-Caringbah (NSW) Brittany Breayley – Brothers Ipswich (QLD) Heather Ballinger – West Brisbane Panthers (QLD) Kezie Apps – Helensburgh Tigers (NSW) Jenni-Sue Hoepper – Townsville Women (QLD) Simaima Taufa – Mounties (NSW) Ali Brigginshaw – Brothers Ipswich (QLD) Elianna Walton – Greenacre Tigers (NSW) Lavina Phillips – Redfern All Blacks (NSW) Vanessa Foliaki – East Brisbane Tigers (NSW) http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4834080/mixed-bag-for-jillaroos-merit-squad/ REVIEWS | Harvey Norman Womens Premiership Finals Week 2 Ryan Selvage (Twitter: @RyanSelvage) Thu 7th September, 12:00PM A A North Newcastle take on the Greenacre Tigers in the opening week of the Harvey Norman NSW Womens Premiership Finals Series. Image: David Napper. SEMI FINAL: Mounties RLFC v North Newcastle UOW Jubilee Kogarah, Sunday 10 September 1pm Streamed LIVE at NSWRL.com.au Mounties and North Newcastle go head-to-head in a must-win game for both sides, the loser to pack their bags and exit the competition, the winner to progress through to a Preliminary Final showdown. In the unique ‘Top 5’ Finals format, Mounties head into the Week Two clash on the back of a last-start loss to the Glenmore Park Brumbies, while North Newcastle prepare for this match following on from their 14-point win over the Greenacre Tigers last weekend. Finishing the regular season in fourth, North Newcastle will once again be spearheaded by dominant half Caitlin Moran, who has starred time and time again for the Novocastrians. Alongside fellow NSW Womens Interstate Challenge representatives Isabelle Kelly and Rebecca Young, Moran will be confident of leading her side into Week Three of the Finals series. Mounties meanwhile will need to improve upon their efforts from Week One, where the side went down by eight points at the hands of the Brumbies. Conceding three tries inside the match’s last 15 minutes to surrender their lead, the Mounties will be out to ensure they’re not left to rue what may have been, in consecutive weeks. http://www.nswrl.com.au/news/2017/09/07/previews_harvey_norm.html Kelly Hat-Trick Keeps North Newcastle Alive Matt Buxton (Twitter: @MattBuxton22) Sun 10th September, 02:45PM A A North Newcastle take on the Greenacre Tigers in the opening week of the Harvey Norman NSW Womens Premiership Finals Series. Image: David Napper. North Newcastle left it late to run away with the win, but in the end an Isabelle Kelly hat-trick proved to be the difference as they defeated Mounties 28-20 to stay alive in the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership. Caitlin Moran was, as always, inspirational for North Newcastle, who managed to win despite falling behind on the scoreboard a massive three times throughout the match. Mounties had numbers out to the right in a golden opportunity to post first points of the game, but good defensive pressure forced an error by Elise Robins. However, a more direct ploy to score first was used by Mounties just a few minutes later when Paufisi Uasike charged forward and crashed over. The kick-off was dropped by Mounties and North Newcastle capitalised thanks to a left-to-right shift to rising star Cassie Ormsby, who dominated for the Penrith Panthers in the Tarsha Gale Cup earlier in the year and is looking to add more silverware to an already successful 2017. North Newcastle made it back-to-back tries thanks to the brilliance of Caitlin Moran, who showed the ball and broke through and had plenty of support to her right, but she option to dummy and sharply step off the right foot before strolling over the try-line to take the lead. NSW Women’s Interstate wrecking-ball Simaima Taufa broke the game open when she powered through the defence and made a strong run, and the retreating North Newcastle players could not prevent a beautiful cut-out pass to an unmarked Robins, locked the scores up at 10-all. Taufa was at it again to start the second half, crashing over at short range to momentarily take the lead, but Isabelle Kelly snatched it right back when she burst through a hole with options either side of her, but she backed herself to score an amazing four-pointer. Kelly made it back-to-back tries shortly afterwards when she once again sliced through when given just the smallest hint of space, before completing a genuine hat-trick moments later off the back of some great work from Moran. The momentum was well and truly with North Newcastle, and some crafty work out of dummy half from Kylie Hilder allowed her to step around the markers and increase their lead to 28-16. The try of the match came when Robins freakishly managed to bat the ball into the field off play into the arms of Dahlia Tahu as North Newcastle attempted to find touch, and she stayed alive and received an around-the-corner offload before running away to score. It was a sensational effort but too little, too late for Mounties, who would fail to score in the final three minutes and were defeated 28-20. North Newcastle 28 (I Kelly 3, C Ormsby, C Moran, K Hilder tries; C Ormsby, C Moran goals) def Mounties 20 (E Robins 2, P Uasike, S Taufa tries; T Clark 2 goals) http://www.nswrl.com.au/news/2017/09/10/wrap_women_s_finals_.html Simaima Taufa, Caitlin Moran snare top women’s awards at Brad Fittler Medal gala THE crowd love her, her team admire her and now NSW and Jillaroos lock Simaima Taufa has been rewarded for her feats on the footy field with the Harvey Norman NSW State Player of the Year award. AMANDA LULHAM The Daily Telegraph SEPTEMBER 11, 2017 11:02PM THE crowd love her, her team admire her and now NSW and Jillaroos lock Simaima Taufa has been rewarded for her feats on the footy field with the Harvey Norman NSW State Taufa was part of the victorious Blues side which defended its crown at the annual interstate women’s rugby league challenge at Wollongong in July. NSW’s Simaima Taufa during the Interstate Challenge won by NSW.Source:News Corp Australia The Blues beat the Maroons 22-6 victory in the annual showdown — NSW’s second consecutive win after ending Queensland’s 17-years domination of the match in 2016. Another major award for women on the night went to Caitlin Moran. Moran was named Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership Player of the Year after leading her North Newcastle side into the top four of the NSW women’s’ premiership. Caitlin Moran in her Jillaroos colours. Pic Jono Searle.Source:News Corp Australia The talented centre also played a major role in the Blues’ interstate challenge victory and was named, alongside the likes of Maddie Studdon, Ruan Sims, Samantha Bremner, Kezie Apps and try-scoring sensation Jessica Sergis in the Jillaroos Merit squad post game. Interstate Challenge players were on Monday night also given a silver bracelet with a charm on it commemorating the Blues win. Originally published as Jillaroos pair scoop top NSW awards http://www.news.com.au/sport/simaima-taufa-caitlin-moran-snare-top-womens-awards-at-brad-fittler-medal-gala/news-story/fe816a67f287f1cf8315803d42e44ff7 SEPTEMBER 12 2017 – 6:30PM NSW Women’s Premiership: Brad Fittler Medal awards feature best and fairest for North Newcastle representative Caitlin Moran Josh Callinan REWARD: NSW Women’s Premiership player of the Year Caitlin Moran. Picture: NRL Photos World Cup aspirant Caitlin Moran hopes to continue the form that saw her claim this year’s NSW Women’s Premiership best and fairest when North Newcastle vie for a grand final spot at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday. Moran was on Tuesday named at halfback for the Maidens’ do-or-die preliminary final clash with Glemore Park after collecting the competition’s player of the year prize at the Brad Fittler Medal awards in Sydney the night before. The Hunter product showed why she deserved the top gong on Sunday with an impressive display helping the Maidens avoid elimination and defeat Mounties 28-20 at Kograh Oval. Moran and North Newcastle teammates Bec Young and Isabelle Kelly are all in contention to make the Jillaroos’ World Cup squad. Elsewhere in rugby league and Knights under-20 player Josh Ralph is part of the Wales train-on squad for the upcoming World Cup while Newcastle teammate Jack Johns was charged with a dangerous throw in Friday night’s sudden-death semi-final loss to Brisbane but will escape suspension with an early guilty plea. NORTH NEWCASTLE: Amy Broadhead, Alicia Martin, Donna Sutton, Holli Wheeler, Renee Cross, Skye Lovett, Caitlin Moran, Francis Afeaki, Kylie Hilder, Cassie Ormsby, Jerry Burgmann, Isabelle Kelly, Bec Young, Brooke Carter, Theresa Wilhemus, Sheridon Noble, Casey Cameron, Rebecca Cramp, Ngalika Barker, Krystal Saunders. http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4919591/morans-top-form-attracts-attention/ SEPTEMBER 15 2017 – 1:30PM North Newcastle Maidens one win away from NSW Women’s Premiership grand final in rookie season Josh Callinan SHOT: North Newcastle rugby league fullback Amy Broadhead (right) celebrating a try in last month’s Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union grand final with Merewether. Picture: Marina Neil Amy Broadhead already has one piece of silverware this season and now she’s chasing another. The Wallsend 32-year-old won her first Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union women’s title with Merewether last month but this Sunday the fullback switches codes to rugby league and will co-captain North Newcastle in the NSW Women’s Premiership preliminary final. And if the Maidens manage to beat Glenmore Park at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday and go onto upset minor premiers the Redfern All Blacks in next weekend’s decider, it could be enough for Broadhead to consider retiring. “I’d be pretty close to hanging the boots up if I managed to bag two in the one year,” she said. “I don’t think you could top that.” Broadhead said a satisfying union crown had been “a long time coming” after a few close calls previously and she thought the league campaign could carry a similar momentum after North Newcastle’s back-to-back sudden-death semi-final victories against Greenacre (32-18) and Mounties (28-20). “We have a lot of girls that travel so it’s pretty rare for us to have a full squad at training,” she said. “So the more games we can get in the more it benefits us as a team.” The Maidens have accounted for Glenmore Park on both occasions they met in the regular season. Most recently 26-6 at home in the penultimate round and then 32-0 away to the Brumbies on June 17. Kick-off is 11:15am. http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4926529/amy-has-second-shot-at-trophy/ SEPTEMBER 17 2017 – 9:30PM NSW Women’s Premiership: North Newcastle Maidens make grand final in inaugural season Josh Callinan SHOWDOWN: NSW Women’s Premiership player of the year and Jillaroos representative Caitlin Moran in action during North Newcastle’s 20-14 preliminary final win over Glenmore Park on Sunday. Picture: NRL Photos Twelve months ago there was no North Newcastle women’s team. After forming the Maidens lost their first two games of the season by almost 100 combined points. Now the rookie squad has qualified for the 2017 NSW Women’s Premiership grand final and inaugural coach Mick Young couldn’t be prouder. “It’s a reward for all of their hard work and I’m just so happy for them to make a grand final,” Young said. “Some of the girls started training in November and we didn’t even know if we were going to have a team. Some of the girls travel from as far as Port Macquarie, Taree, Singleton and Penrith. Some of the girls are working mothers. “They just genuinely love rugby league and to see how far they’ve come in such a short time frame is unbelievable. “They lost their first two games of the year by almost 100 and have stuck at it and now they get such a great opportunity.” North Newcastle stayed composed in Sunday’s 20-14 preliminary final victory against Glenmore Park at Leichhardt Oval, scoring three unanswered tries in quick succession midway through the second half to overcome a 10-point deficit. “I never had doubt there, I was just more worried about the way we were playing,” Young said. “But only being 10-4 down and not playing well, I knew if we could just hold the ball and get back to our game we would be a chance.” Maidens centre Isabelle Kelly, a NSW and Australian representative vying for a World Cup spot later this year, crossed in either half to take her finals tally to seven from three appearances. This featured a hat-trick in last weekend’s 28-20 minor semi-final win over Mounties and another double against Greenacre in a 32-18 elimination semi-final triumph. North Newcastle will now meet minor premiers the Redfern All Blacks in the state showdown at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday (4:20pm). NORTH NEWCASTLE 20 (Isabelle Kelly 2, Theresa Wilhelmus, Holli Wheeler tries; Wheeler, Moran goals) defeated GLENMORE PARK 14 (Thalia Hunter, Monique Donovan, Anneliese Hughes tries; Stevie-Lee Foster goal) http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4929069/north-newcastles-maiden-state-decider/?cs=306 017 NSWRL Harvey Norman Womens Premiership Grand Final New South Wales Rugby League | September 19 2017 4:52PM Teamlists and officials for the 2017 NSWRL Harvey Norman Womens Premiership Grand Final to be played between Redfern and North Newcastle this Sunday afternoon at Leichhardt. 2017 NSWRL Harvey Norman Womens Premiership Grand Final Redfern All Blacks v North Newcastle Sun September 24 2017, 4:20pm atLeichhardt Oval 1. Nakia Welsh 2. Karri Doyle 3. Emma Gillogly 4. Kyara Nean 5. Taleena Simon 6. Lavina O’mealey 7. Maddison Studdon 8. Kowana Welsh 9. Chloe Leaupepe 10. Eunice Grimes 11.Carly Phillips 12. Chloe Caldwell 13. Jasmin Allende 14. Kimbaley Kershaw 15. Kiara Maza 17. Courtney Tallon 18. Meleanna Waters 1. Amy Broadhead 2. Alicia Martin 5. Brooke Carter 4. Holli Wheeler 14. Renee Cross 19.Skye Lovett 7. Caitlin Moran 15. Frances Afeaki 9. Kylie Hilder 23. Cassie Ormsby 11. Jerry Burgmann 24. Isabelle Kelly 13. Rebecca Young 3. Donna Sutton 6. Simone Smith 10.Theresa Wilhelmus 17. Sheridon Noble 18. Casey Cameron 20. Rebecca Cramp 21. Ngalika Barker 22. Krystal Saunders Match Officials Referees: Darian Furner;Sideline Officials: Joseph Eid, Patrick Mackay; http://leagueunlimited.com/news/leagueunlimited-nsw-womens-teams-2017-grand-final/ SEPTEMBER 20 2017 – 2:00PM NSW Women’s Premiership: North Newcastle Maidens centre Isabelle Kelly keen for birthday title TWENTY ONE: North Newcastle centre Isabelle Kelly. Picture: Sylvia Liber World Cup hopeful Isabelle Kelly will look to cap off her 21st birthday celebrations with a state rugby league premiership. The North Newcastle Maidens centre marked the milestone age on Wednesday before turning her attention to Sunday’s NSW Women’s Premiership decider. The Maidens, who only formed this season, will take on minor premiers the Redfern All Blacks at Leichhardt Oval with Kelly in form having scored seven tries in three back-to-back finals outings. NSW Rugby League ✔@NSWRL North Newcastle go BANG BANG Isabelle Kelly gets her second and scores are level! 14-all. Watch live: http://NSWRL.com.au/HNW-Stream-FW3 1:29 PM – Sep 17, 2017 Replies 11 Retweet 66 likes Twitter Ads info and privacy North Newcastle captain Bec Young said it would be a deserved reward for the Central Coast-based star, who joined the club from now defunct Berkeley Vale midway through this season to keep her representative aspirations alive. “It was a tough call for her to make but she hasn’t looked back since,” Young said. SPACE: Isabelle Kelly on debut for the Jillaroos earlier this year. Picture: Jamila Toderas Kelly made her Jillaroos debut earlier this year, helped NSW retain the interstate challenge and played an exhibition nines game for the Newcastle Knights. She is the daughter of former Manly player Ken. Her brother spent 2017 with Queensland Cup side the Burleigh Bears. http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4937103/birthday-trophy-wishes-for-kelly/ SEPTEMBER 22 2017 – 8:30PM Rugby League: North Newcastle women set for NSW Premiership grand final against Redfern Renee Valentine REWARDING: North Newcastle women’s captain Bec Young with husband, and coach, Mick Young and their two children Jarrah, 7, and Colbee, 2. Picture: Marina Neil Bec Young has played in some big sporting matches. The Newcastle 35-year-old dual international was part of the Jillaroos team which captured the World Cup in 2014 and has captained the Indigenous All Stars to glory on her home turf. The inspirational mother of two helped NSW end Queensland’s 16-year stranglehold of the women’s interstate challenge last year then this year defend the title. But when she leads North Newcastle onto Leichhardt Oval for the NSW Rugby League Women’s Premiership decider on Sunday, the moment will be just as big as any other milestone the passionate Novocastrian has achieved in her esteemed sporting career. Young and her husband Mick, who came through the Knights system, entered a women’s rugby league team in the Sydney competition under the banner of Maitland Pickers in 2012. They became the Hunter Stars last year and drew players from a larger area and this year found a new home with North Newcastle as the competition was rebranded as the NSW Premiership. They started training in November last year and quickly established a professional culture and ethic in the squad. They played an exhibition game against the Cronulla Sharks as the Newcastle Knights in April and, at the time, Young rated it is as one of the proudest moments of her career. Sunday will be right alongside that. “In regards to expectations for the year, we just wanted to be able to finish the season. With Hunter Stars and our last year of Pickers, we actually didn’t finish the year well because of injury and work commitments,” Young said. This is a massive reward and it honestly just feels like we’ve accomplished what we set out to do. Bec Young “It’s been a season of ups and downs. At the start of the year a couple of us were out on representative honours and we got beat by 50 in the first two games, so we were a little bit worried about that. “Then in the second round we tied six or seven wins together and we thought, ‘We might have a chance here’.” They finished the season fourth and have survived three do-or-die finals to make the grand final. “Mick and I have both worked really hard to build rugby league in Newcastle and to make sure girls and women have a choice to play rugby league is probably the reason why we first started,” Young said. “So this is a massive reward and it honestly just feels like we’ve accomplished what we set out to do.” North Newcastle have not beaten Redfern this year but Young said they were missing key players in their last outing and rated Jillaroo Simone Smith, who has missed the finals series but returns this weekend, as the “surprise up our sleeves”. The game is at 4.20pm. http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4941880/young-realises-dream-in-grand-final-decider/ PREVIEW | Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership Grand Final Ryan Selvage (Twitter: @RyanSelvage) Fri 22nd September, 08:30AM A A They’ve taken the competition by storm this season, and the Redfern All Blacks will be looking to cap a remarkable year in Premiership-winning style as they take on North Newcastle in the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership Grand Final. There’s an abundance of talent on show in this clash, with seven NSW Womens Interstate Challenge representatives set to turn out for their respective club sides in this clash. The sides have met twice already this season, with Redfern dismantling North Newcastle on both occasions. Such is the pressure and the intensity of a Grand Final; previous results mean little heading into Sunday’s decider. Key Match-up – Maddie Studdon (Redfern) v Caitlin Moran (North Newcastle) In a battle of the playmakers, NSW Womens Interstate Challenge halves partners Maddie Studdon and Caitlin Moran collide. Close friends away from the field, the pair have been instrumental in their teams’ successes this season, and again look set to play starring roles in this clash. Under Studdon’s guidance, the Redfern All Blacks finished the regular season as Minor Premiers – losing only one of their eleven matches played in 2017. North Newcastle meanwhile, inspired by Player of the Year Moran, take confidence out of impressive wins throughout the finals series, leading into Sunday’s Grand Final. Where It Will Be Won While many expect plenty of points to come of Sunday’s finale on a fast, dry Leichhardt Oval surface, watch for the work done in defence by both sides to prove crucial come the sound of the final siren. Redfern head into the grand final having scored 42 points in their last outing, perhaps more impressive though, their ability to keep a potent Glenmore Park Brumbies outfit to nil in the sides’ Grand Final Qualifier in finals Week Two. North Newcastle meanwhile struggled to keep Glenmore Park at bay in their Preliminary Final last weekend, and if not for the attacking brilliance of Moran and co, could have been bundled out of the finals race. http://www.nswrl.com.au/news/2017/09/22/preview_harvey_norma.html SEPTEMBER 24 2017 – 7:30PM Redfern All Blacks win NSWRL women’s decider 26-16 against North Newcastle. ROBERT DILLON WRAPPED UP: North Newcastle defenders arrive in numbers to stop a Redfern attacking raid on Sunday. Picture: Grant Trouville, nrl.com THREE tries in the last seven minutes allowed North Newcastle to save face but not the game as Redfern All Blacks won the NSW women’s rugby league grand 26-16 at Leichhardt Oval. Redfern scored four tries in the first half, and North were fortunate that wayward goalkicking from hooker Chloe Leupepe meant they were facing only a 16-0 deficit at the break. As the game entered the last 10 minutes, the scoreline read 26-0 to the Sydney team, but North rallied with tries by Kylie Hilder (73rd minute), Holli Wheeler (77th) and Isabelle Kelly (79th) to salvage some pride. In their first season under the North Newcastle banner – after previous incarnations as Maitland and the Hunter Stars – the Bluebags finished fourth and survived three sudden-death play-offs to reach the decider. Centres Taleena Simon and Karri Doyle both scored first-half doubles for Redfern. All Blacks 26 (T Simon 2, K Doyle 2, N Davis-Welsh, C Leupepe tries; Leaupepe goal) North Newcastle 16 (K Hilder, H Wheeler, I Kelly tries; C Moran 2 goals). AAP reports: Australia’s women’s rugby league team thumped Papua New Guinea 42-4 in their historic clash in Port Moresby on Saturday. The match was the first Test between the two nations, with the PNG Orchids forming for this year’s World Cup. Split into four quarters because of the oppressive heat and humidity, the match was dominated by the Jillaroos, who proved far too professional for the gutsy Orchids in what was also the first women’s Test match in the country. Co-captains Renae Kunst and Steph Hancock led from the front for Australia with three tries between them in the first half as the visitors took a commanding 30-0 lead into the break. After a physical start, outside back Corban McGregor opened the scoring after seven minutes with a try that Chelsea Baker failed to convert. Kody House went over in the corner in the 33rd minute after replacing debutant winger Jessica Sergis, who had come from the field due to heat stress. Fellow debutant Talesha Quinn scored her first try for the Jillaroos just before the halftime break. Tries to Meg Ward and Sergis soon after the break were both converted by Baker, who finished with a haul of ten points from her five successful kicks. The packed crowd roared when rampaging prop Maima Wei scored the first ever try for the Orchids late in the game. Jillaroos coach Brad Donald hailed Hancock’s performance after she had been left out of the side for the Anzac Test against New Zealand in May. “For her to come back the way that she did … I’m extremely proud of her,” he said. Donald praised the Orchids for their relentless defence. Orchids coach Dennis Miall was happy his team were able to test themselves against the No. 1-ranked Jillaroos. “We’re proud of what our girls did today,” he said. http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4944847/grand-final-fightback-not-enough-for-north/ Redfern Women Simply The Best Andre Cupido Sun 24th September, 06:30PM A A CHAMPIONS OF NSW: Redfern All Blacks win the 2017 title. The Redfern All Blacks have claimed the inaugural Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership, defeating North Newcastle 26-16 in a hard-fought contest at Leichhardt Oval. North Newcastle dominated the opening exchanges as Redfern made a host of handling errors, but they were unable to execute their backline movements after two tries were disallowed for forward passes. Redfern were defending valiantly as North Newcastle continued to threaten their goal-line, but the All Blacks eventually claimed first points with a clinical right-to-left shift off the scrum that sent Taleena Simon over in the left-hand corner. Nakia Davis-Welsh came up with a try-saving tackle after North Newcastle looked all but certain to score – inspiring her team to march down the field as speedster Taleena Simon scored her second try within the space of 10 minutes thanks to a brilliant cut-out pass from Maddison Studdon. Simon was unable to convert with Redfern taking a handy 8-0 lead after 30 minutes. With a wave of momentum behind them, Redfern continued to roll through the middle third with Theresa Wilhelmus making a barnstorming run before offloading Emma Gillogly who streaked down the right-hand touchline and drawing the fullback for Karri Doyle who scored in the right-hand corner. The All Blacks capped off a fast-finishing first half with Doyle scoring her second just before the break, but Leupepe was unable to convert from the sideline with the score remaining16-0 at half-time. Redfern got off to the perfect start in the second half with Davis-Welsh burning her way around opposition defenders for their fifth try of the afternoon, with Leaupepe converting extend the lead to 22 after 45 minutes. Redfern were brimming with confidence but an array of handling errors mounted significant pressure on their goal-line, but their defence held strong as North Newcastle were unable to find a breakthrough despite their desperate efforts. The All Blacks’ relentless defence was enough to hold our North Newcastle, and they eventually reaped the rewards at the opposing end with Leaupepe darting out of dummy-half and barging her way over to seal the victory for the All Blacks. North Newcastle fought hard in the closing stages as they finally broke the committed defence of the All Blacks with Kylie Hilder bursting through to score their maiden four-pointer before Holli Wheeler found open space just moments later for their second consecutive try. A final consolation try to Isabelle Kelly capped off a valiant second-half for North Newcastle, however Redfern were able to hold on to claim a gritty 26-16 victory – and the 2017 title. All Blacks 26 (T Simon 2, K Doyle 2, N Davis-Welsh, C Leupepe tries; Leaupepe goal) def North Newcastle 16 (K Hilder, H Wheeler, I Kelly tries; C Moran two goals) http://www.nswrl.com.au/news/2017/09/24/report_women_s_grand.html Moran Flying High Despite Grand Final Loss Andre Cupido Tue 26th September, 03:30PM A A The Redfern All Blacks clash with North Newcastle in the 2017 Harvey Norman NSW Womens Premiership. Image: NRL Photos. North Newcastle may have fallen short against a clinical Redfern All Blacks side in the grand final, but Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Player of the Year Caitlin Moran still has plenty to crow about after her stellar 2017 campaign. Moran capped off a brilliant individual season after she was crowned the best player in the world at the Brad Fittler Medal Awards night two weeks ago but was unable to steer her side to victory after going down to Redfern 26-16 on Sunday afternoon. Although in with a fighting chance before kick-off, North Newcastle were unable to maintain their strong start after conceding four first-half tries which Moran puts down to inexperience against a well-drilled side. “I think we started a bit out of the blocks and we were in the game in the first ten minutes, but I think nerves [crept in] – we have a new few girls and it’s our first year together,” she told NSWRL.com.au “Redfern are a very developed team now, they have been together for a while so all credit to Redfern and how they played and the coaching staff. “What we can take away with that is a bit of experience and bit more structure to be more calm.” After being part of the victorious NSW side that trounced Queensland Womens 22-6 earlier this year, Moran was brimming with confidence and primed for a strong finish to the season with North Newcastle. Despite losing their opening two fixtures and conceding nearly 100 points in the process, Moran sparked her side with a purple patch of form that saw them just lose two more games for the rest of the season. She finished third on competition point-scoring tally while also showing her class in a host of representative teams, but says her combination with fellow Jillaroo stars Isabelle Kelly and Rebecca Young played a significant role in their journey to the Grand Final. “I’ve had a massive season with football personally; it started with Auckland Nines and the Indigenous All Stars win and the Test Match win and then with NSW for the second time down in Queensland,” she said. “Having Izzy [Isabelle Kelly] and Bec [Rebecca Young] in each of those tournaments with me, I think it builds the Newcastle team. “Me personally I have the World Cup year, so I’m just trying to play the best footy I can and try not to get broken out there.” Moran’s long list of 2017 representative honours started in February where she was part a star-studded Jillaroos outfit who won their first Auckland Nines Series with a clean sweep of victories, before leading the Indigenous All Stars to their first ever win just one week later. She went onto to help NSW claim their second series win in a row halfway through 2017 but now has her sights set on the Rugby League World Cup and is looking forward to the challenge ahead. “It’s going to be massive over the next few weeks – footy season is definitely not over,” she said. “I’ve got to try and enjoy the week I have off, then straight back into training and into lock down. “It actually steps up a notch now with all the club stuff over and now all the days I’m usually at club training it’s back to personal training. “But like I said I got the likes of Bec Young and Isabelle living around me so we’re carrying each other and pushing each other towards the World Cup.” http://www.nswrl.com.au/news/2017/09/26/moran_flying_high_de.af_women_news.html OCTOBER 8 2017 – 7:30PM Rugby League: North Newcastle trio Caitlin Moran, Isabelle Kelly, Bec Young named in Jillaroos squad for World Cup Josh Callinan SPOT: North Newcastle’s representative player of the year Caitlin Moran will contest her first World Cup next month after being named in the Jillaroos squad on Sunday. Australia have Cook Islands, England and Canada in their pool. Picture: NRL North Newcastle will have three representatives at next month’s World Cup after Caitlin Moran, Isabelle Kelly and Bec Young were named in the 24-player Jillaroos squad on Sunday. Moran and Kelly will take part in their first World Cup tournaments while dual international Young returns to help Australia’s women’s rugby league team defend their breakthrough title. Young wore the green and gold in England four years ago but after missing the 17 for the final victory she wants to try and make amends on home soil. NEW: North Newcastle utility back Isabelle Kelly. Picture: NRL “To be selected in the 24, especially at my age thinking I don’t know how I’ll go here, I’m really happy,” the 35-year-old mother-of-two said. “He [Jillaroos coach Brad Donald] knows how hard I’ve worked and what it means to me to be there. “And I’ve talked on many occasions in front of the girls about my disappointment at the last World Cup, playing every round game and not being selected to play in the actual final. “It made me realise and learn about team dynamics and how to react in that situation and building character. “It took me a little while to get over, but I’ve got that fire still in my belly so I’ll be pushing for the 17 definitely.” RETURN: This will be Bec Young’s second straight World Cup. Picture: NRL Young is one of a handful who played in the competition last time around while Moran and Kelly are two of 15 World Cup debutantes. The Blues trio missed last month’s Jillaroos match in Papua New Guinea because of North Newcastle’s run to the NSW Women’s Premiership grand final, but they played together for Australia in the Anzac Test. Personal training programs start on Monday with weekend gatherings scheduled in Sydney the rest of this month before going into camp early November. Australia open with Cook Islands on November 16. All round games and both semis are scheduled for Shark Park in Cronulla. The final is at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium before the men’s decider on December 2. Meanwhile, North Newcastle’s 2017 award winners were announced at the club’s presentation at Carrington Bowling Club on Saturday night with Holly Wheeler voted players’ player. Other prizes went to Amy Broadhead (best back), Jerry Burgmann (best forward), Alicia Martin (rookie), Skye Lovett (coaches) and Moran (representative). FIXTURES: November 16 v Cook Islands (4pm); November 19 v England (1:45pm); November 22 v Canada (4pm); November 26 semi-finals; December 2 final (3:45pm). http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4973189/north-newcastle-trio-into-world-cup/ NOVEMBER 3 2017 – 4:00PM Rugby League: North Newcastle trio Bec Young, Caitlin Moran and Isabelle Kelly named in Jillaroos squad for Women’s World Cup | photos Isaac McIntyre S TRUE BLUE: Young, Moran and Kelly have already starred together in the NSW Blues Interstate Challenge, which doubled as a final World Cup trial for the Jillaroos squad. Picture: Grant Trouville Three North Newcastle women have been named in Australia’s 24 player squad for the Women’s Rugby League World Cup 2017. Isabelle Kelly, Caitlin Moran and Bec Young will be representing the Newcastle region through their selection for the Jillaroos as the women’s tournament kicks off alongside the men’s competition. All three of the Novocastrian players have experienced the limelight that comes with wearing the green-and-gold: Moran and Kelly attended the Auckland Nines in February, while all three played together in a 16-4 victory over New Zealand in a test match in May. Young will also be lining up for her second World Cup, after having made the trip to England in 2013 that saw the Jillaroos earn a breakthrough title and champion status. +7 http://www.newcastlestar.com.au/story/5033581/three-newcastle-players-named-in-jillaroos-world-cup-squad/?cs=1913 Rugby League: Australian representatives Caitlin Moran, Bec Young live out World Cup dream on home soil Josh Callinan Local Sport START: Newcastle-based Jillaroos representatives Caitlin Moran and Bec Young at Alder Park. The World Cup kicks off Thursday. Picture: Josh Callinan Caitlin Moran and Bec Young see each other almost every day. The Australian women’s rugby league representatives work together, socialise together and during the last 12 months have trained intensively together, including fitness sessions at Alder Park. Now the Newcastle duo finally get to live out a World Cup dream together on home soil. “Bec and I have actually been training since last November, making each other run in 30 degree heat,” Moran said. “It was hard but we had to get through it and our end goal was always pushing for a spot in that World Cup. “I work with Bec as well, so we’re pretty well together from when we wake up in the morning until we go to sleep at night.” Both have now been rewarded for their efforts, selected to play in the Jillaroos’ tournament opener against the Cook Islands in Cronulla on Thursday (4pm). Wallsend 20-year-old rookie Moran was picked to wear the prestigious No.7 jersey after impressive performances across the backline this season, which featured the inaugural NSW Women’s Premiership player of the year award. Adamstown 34-year-old mother-of-two Young returns to the international scene at prop to defend the trophy she helped claim for the girls in green and gold in England in 2013, determined to keep a spot throughout the entire competition. They will be joined in the starting 17 by Central Coast-based North Newcastle and Blues teammate Isabelle Kelly in the centres. Pool games against England (November 19) and Canada (November 22) follow. Semi-finals are scheduled for November 26. The decider will be a double header with the men’s showdown in Brisbane on December 2. Young wants another date with destiny. “We’re not afraid to say we want to win,” Young said. “We’re there to win and we’ve been building our confidence, especially in the women’s game, in taking that next step and backing our ability to do really well.” Moran said the squad, fresh from a week-long training camp on the Gold Coast, were well prepared. ”We’ve definitely ramped up our program with fitness this year,” Moran said. “From the Auckland Nines to the [Anzac] Test, this is the hardest training I’ve done since I started playing and all the girls have stuck to it.” Both were supportive of a landmark $3.75 million investment into the women’s game announced this month following the collective bargaining agreement reached by the NRL and Rugby League Players Association. It was hard but we had to get through it and our end goal was always pushing for a spot in that World Cup.” Caitlin Moran JILLAROOS: Nakia Davis-Welsh, Karina Brown, Annette Brander, Isabelle Kelly, Meg Ward, Ali Brigginshaw, Caitlin Moran, Steph Hancock, Brittany Breayley, Rebecca Young, Vanessa Foliaki, Talesha Quinn, Zahara Temara, Maddie Studdon, Lavina O’Mealey, Simaima Taufa, Kezie Apps, Corban McGregor, Heather Ballinger. http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5058565/newcastle-pair-ready-for-world-cup-journey/?cs=306 DECEMBER 1 2017 – 6:30PM Rugby League: Hunter’s Caitlin Moran to steer Jillaroos from halfback in World Cup final | photos Josh Callinan Jillaroos’ captain’s run in Brisbane on Friday Pictures from AAP Caitlin Moran went into her maiden World Cup not knowing, or worrying about, what position she would play for the Jillaroos. But now the versatile Upper Hunter-bred, Wallsend-based, North Newcastle utility will steer the Australian women’s team around the final from halfback. Moran, who turned 21 while in camp last month, will continue as national pivot against New Zealand in Brisbane on Saturday. “It doesn’t worry me where I play,” Moran said. “I’m just happy being part of it all. It’s a dream come true.” It was a mixed bag for Moran’s North Newcastle teammates with Isabelle Kelly named in the centres on Friday while Bec Young missed the 17-player squad. +22 http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5094694/moran-primed-for-cup-decider/?cs=4782 Jillaroos’ captain’s run in Brisbane on Friday Pictures from AAP Caitlin Moran went into her maiden World Cup not knowing, or worrying about, what position she would play for the Jillaroos. But now the versatile Upper Hunter-bred, Wallsend-based, North Newcastle utility will steer the Australian women’s team around the final from halfback. Moran, who turned 21 while in camp last month, will continue as national pivot against New Zealand in Brisbane on Saturday. “It doesn’t worry me where I play,” Moran said. “I’m just happy being part of it all. It’s a dream come true.” It was a mixed bag for Moran’s North Newcastle teammates with Isabelle Kelly named in the centres on Friday while Bec Young missed the 17-player squad. +22 http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5094694/moran-primed-for-cup-decider/?cs=4782 Kelly, Moran and Young aim for World Cup glory Pool matches and semi-finals will be played at the Southern Cross Group Stadium, Sydney before the final will be played in Brisbane as part of a double-header fixture alongside the men’s final on December 2. The competition, run as a stand-alone event for the first time in its history, will see Australia, Canada, Cook Island, England, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea vying for international glory. The Jilaroos squad is expected to travel to the Gold Coast next week to begin preparations at a team camp, before their first match on Thursday, November 16. Their first world cup pool match against Cook Island will be part of the curtain-raising triple-header that will also see New Zealand against Canada and England against Papua New Guinea. Jillaroos Squad: Kezie Apps; Chelsea Baker; Heather Ballinger; Annette Brander; Brittany Breayley; Sam Bremner; Ali Brigginshaw; Karina Brown; Nakia Davis-Welsh; Vanessa Foliaki; Steph Hancock; Isabelle Kelly; Renae Kunst; Corban McGregor; Caitlin Moran; Lavina O’Mealey; Talesha Quinn; Ruan Sims; Maddie Studdon; Zahara Temara; Simaima Taufa; Elianna Walton; Meg Ward; Rebecca Young.