Hunter Valley Group 21 under-14 coach Phoebe Desmond praises young CRL 9s team

MAKING THEIR MARK: Hunter Valley Group 21 under-14 squad, back, Phoebe Desmond, Ashley Halliwell, Alexandria Crompton, Shauna Pritchard, Matilda Jones, Tiarna West, Georgia Smith, Tamsin Gough, Chelsea Johns, Tony Ferries; and, front, Isla Johnston, Elizabeth Ferries, Ellie Farrands, Sophie Clancy, Tenahya Dennis, Jemma Grady, Alissa Maytom, Evie Jones and Kyah Johnston.
MAKING THEIR MARK: Hunter Valley Group 21 under-14 squad, back, Phoebe Desmond, Ashley Halliwell, Alexandria Crompton, Shauna Pritchard, Matilda Jones, Tiarna West, Georgia Smith, Tamsin Gough, Chelsea Johns, Tony Ferries; and, front, Isla Johnston, Elizabeth Ferries, Ellie Farrands, Sophie Clancy, Tenahya Dennis, Jemma Grady, Alissa Maytom, Evie Jones and Kyah Johnston.

A STEELY determination will hold the Hunter Valley Group 21 under-14 girls’ side in good stead during the inaugural CRL Women’s 9s competition.

And, it could net them a maiden title in the six-week Newcastle and Central Coast-based tournament.

The young squad, which boasts youngsters from Singleton, Muswellbrook, Denman and Scone, opened its campaign at Berkeley Vale with impressive victories over Raymond Terrace (2) 38-0 and Budgewoi 24-12.

They backed that up with another win at the expense of West Maitland, but suffered a narrow 12-10 loss to Raymond Terrace (1), at the weekend.

Coach Phoebe Desmond admitted it had been a “phenomenal effort” by her chargers so far.

“It takes an extra commitment [from them] to do so well,” she said.

“They’re training throughout the Upper Hunter a couple of times a week, then travelling on the weekend to play.

“The girls are definitely keen.

“All of them registered the competition as individuals.

“However, CRL female participation officer Kylie Hilder noticed that there were a lot of players from Group 21, so we decided to form one team.

“It’s a great experience for the girls; even rivals think we’re a rep outfit.

“As a coach, it’s terrific to see them put their hands up – and the parents as well, they’ve been so supportive.”

Desmond is also impressed with the players’ mind-set.

“There’s a big difference between league tag and CRL 9s, but they’ve embraced the concept,” she said.

“They’re all good mates, too, which helps.

“It’s the best team I’ve coached – attitude-wise and positive-wise.

“I think they’re a real chance of winning the competition.

“However, it’s important to finish in the top four, ideally at the top of the group.”

The side features the talents of Sophie Clancy, Alexandria Crompton, Tenahya Dennis, Ellie Farrands, Elizabeth Ferries, Tamsin Gough, Jemma Grady, Ashley Halliwell, Chelsea Johns, Isla Johnston, Kyah Johnston, Evie Jones, Matilda Jones, Alissa Maytom, Shauna Pritchard, Georgia Smith and Tiarna West.