Women’s rugby is growing in the west of NSW, with Western Plains championing a new Touch 7s competition for the local women.
With a growing demand for women’s rugby, Western Plains decided to introduce Touch 7s, as an Active Hub through Rugby Australia.
The support from the Active Hubs initiative has allowed majority of the costs associated with playing to be covered and has given access to NSW Rugby Development staff to conduct trainings for clubs.
Emma Marvell is one of the beneficiaries of the new Touch 7s competition, currently captaining the Walgett women’s side and having been a big supporter of introducing the format.
For Marvell, being able to see how much the other local women have enjoyed playing rugby has been one of the biggest highlights.
“We had previously tried to get the Walgett girls to give something a go, but didn’t quite have the numbers for tackle,” Marvell said.
“Eventually word got going that Touch 7s would be an option, so we rallied the troops and Western Plains got behind us.
“We had some of the NSW Rugby Development Officers come and help us with training, and even had help with registration costs and uniforms,” she said.
Marvell has also seen the benefits of the social aspects of being involved and says that it’s something that everyone involved has shouted praise about.
“This competition is an opportunity for the local women to be involved in something and stay active,” Marvell said.
“But its also been absolutely amazing for our health and wellbeing. We all now have a weekly commitment, something to challenge us and a social support system in town that doesn’t revolve around work or our partners.
“It is also great for our younger members of the club and community to have women in sport to look up to and encourage their own involvement,” she said.
Having grown up playing touch football, Marvell found the format a bit challenging at first, but quickly found her groove in the fast-paced game.
“Being touch player myself, the format was a bit hard to get used to, however knowing rugby 7s rules I can see how it has integrated both concepts of the contact and non-contact game to make it safe, un and most importantly a fast style of rugby that requires a lot of fitness!” Marvell said.
Marvell is extremely grateful to the community and her club for giving her the opportunity of being involved.
“We are so grateful to the Walgett community and the rugby club for getting this initiative off the ground,” Marvell said.
“Bec Yeomans started our team and has continued to support us and involve us in the club and the game.
“Our President Troy Yeomans, coach Joshua Walford and the men’s team have all been extremely supportive of having a women’s side at the club.
“We also would like to thank the NSW Rugby staff and development officers for dedicating time to help with trainings and teaching us about the game,” she said.