The women reviving rugby sevens in Katherine

Fit and fun: the women's rugby sevens players had their first run of the season on Friday night, and after a quick warm up they split into teams. More pictures: Page 23
Fit and fun: the women's rugby sevens players had their first run of the season on Friday night, and after a quick warm up they split into teams. More pictures: Page 23

A few years ago, rugby sevens was the game to play during the sporting drought of the wet season.

The quick-paced, speedy game might have only been played by men at the time, but there were four teams with an abundance of players. Even the Royal Australian Air Force got in on the competition.

But work commitments, and a lack of attention from junior players coming up through the rungs, led to numbers dwindling, and clubs have struggled to maintain a sevens competition since.

In 2019, the sport is seeing a revival in Katherine, where the women's league is breathing life back into it.

The women had their first run of their second season on Friday night, and are hoping to get the competition back to what it was.

Secretary of the Katherine Rugby Union, Sharon Jennings, dabbled in the sport for years, but took it up seriously last year as the first women's team emerged onto the scene.

She is among the majority who have played in contact sports before, but are quite new to the short but powerful game, which lasts for just 14 minutes.

"Compared to a usual 80 minute rugby game with 15 players, it is a good way to introduce more people to the sport and get them involved," Jennings said.

The rules are no different, but the pace much faster.

"It is more entertaining," she said.

The Northern Territory Rugby Union has jumped on board to grow the competition, and is even holding the second round of the NT Rugby Union Summer of Sevens Series in Katherine, next weekend.

Katherine's women will be competing against teams from Darwin, who have their usual competition from February, a team of ringers and whoever else wants to compete, Jennings said.

"You'll see most of us laughing on the field at a few points in the game, it is mainly a way to keep fit during the off season," she said.

"It used to be really popular in Katherine, and we want to get it back to that."

The women's team trains on Monday and Thursday at the Katherine Sportsground, in preparation for Friday night games.


This story The women reviving rugby sevens in Katherine first appeared on Katherine Times.