WINNING FORM: Jayla Solomon breaks free in the South Burnett U12s game against Valleys.
WINNING FORM: Jayla Solomon breaks free in the South Burnett U12s game against Valleys. Claudia Williams

Five reasons to support South Burnett's girls rugby league

A HOME game is a rarity for the South Burnett girls rugby league teams who compete in the Toowoomba Rugby League competition.

So, when they had the chance to play in front of their home crowd in Kingaroy on Friday night, they made sure they put on a show.

Here is five reasons why you need to get behind South Burnett's under-12, U14 and U17 sides:

Cheniqua Barkle scored four tries for the South Burnett against the Valleys.
Cheniqua Barkle scored four tries for the South Burnett against the Valleys. Claudia Williams

1. Winning form

The South Burnett girls are in winning form ahead of the league's gala day in Toowoomba on August 25 when the teams will be playing to keep their season hopes alive.

The U12s scored a 32-12 point win over the Valleys on Friday, the U14s battled it out with scores drawn at 34-all at full time while the U17s capped off the night with a win 54-16.

For U14s coach Nathan Dean, Friday's game was one of the highlights of the season so far.

"It was the best game of the season so far for us,” he said.

"It was a really good, tough game but we have still got a fair bit to work on, especially in defence, but our attack was really good and all in all I am really proud of how the girls played.”

Lacey Lee on her way to scoring a try for the South Burnett U14s.
Lacey Lee on her way to scoring a try for the South Burnett U14s. Claudia Williams

2. They are not afraid to take risks

On the fifth tackle, 10 metres out from the line the U14 girls made the decision to hold onto the ball and force their way to the try line.

The risk paid off with quick feet and fast thinking leading to South Burnett's first try of the game.

"It was one of the best plays of the game,” Dean said.

"I always tell them to back themselves, if you make a mistake it is not the end of the game.”

Ashligh McConnell in the South Burnett U12s against Valleys.
Ashligh McConnell in the South Burnett U12s against Valleys. Claudia Williams

3. They are always improving

Coach Evalyn Thompson loves watching her U12s team come together as a team and commit themselves to making small improvements each week.

"I love when we go to training, work on a skill and they go out on the field and they nail it, that is my favourite thing,” she said.

While they are improving as footballers, Thompson said it was the bond between the girls that proved to be key to their success.

"Because they play in so many different teams they come together and get along so well. Their friendship on the field is outstanding,” she said.

The South Burnett U14 girls side before their game in Kingaroy.
The South Burnett U14 girls side before their game in Kingaroy. Claudia Williams

4. They are the future of the game

The sky is the limit for South Burnett girls who want to pursue rugby league with pathways from grass roots through to the NRL on offer.

However, involvement from the community is key to ensuring the region's talent can make the most of what is available.

"The South Burnett is a really strong rugby league community for the girls,” Dean said.

"We proved ourselves in the Sunshine Coast competition and showing the Toowoomba competition we have really strong players and need to develop them and keep it going.

"The U12s is the future and we have to keep them motivated and interested and coming through the grades.”

Thompson agreed the region needed to nurture the talent in the region.

"We need more support from other coaches to get behind the girls and talk them up because they have got a lot of skills and just need people teaching them,” she said.

South Burnett Eagles and Valleys observe a minutes silence before their game.
South Burnett Eagles and Valleys observe a minutes silence before their game. Contributed

5. It is more than a game for the girls

Before Friday's game the South Burnett and Valleys players came together for a minute's silence to remember a woman from the Valleys club that had died last week.

It was an emotional night for all involved and Dean was proud to see all the South Burnett players honour the occasion, which showed that football is more than just a game for the community.

"Rugby league is a big family and it doesn't matter where you come from or where you play, everyone gets behind it,” he said.

South Burnett

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