Muswellbrook Heelers hopeful of fielding female team in 2020 Newcastle Hunter Rugby Union competition

THE Muswellbrook Heelers have dominated the Newcastle Hunter Rugby Union (NHRU) divisional competition for the past decade or so.

And, now, the club is keen to do likewise in the women's 15s format.

In a historic move for the local organisation, the Heelers are hopeful of fielding a female side in the 2020 premiership.

But, it all depends on playing numbers to meet the NHRU's requirements, according to president Michael Hall.

"We've got about 18 or 19 names at this stage, however we need to have a few more girls by the end of this week to confirm our position," he said.

"NHRU has indicated squads must be submitted by mid-January - and we are very close.

"Women's rugby in the Newcastle and Hunter regions is thriving.

"There are clear pathways to representative teams, too.

"A lot of the girls have reached state and national level through that corridor.

"So, it's time we joined the fold.

"We tried to get it [the concept] off the ground last season; unfortunately it didn't eventuate.

"The Heelers have the facilities and, from a club perspective, can help them reach their goals."

Hall said the decision to establish a side originated in late-2019.

"We were approached by a couple of girls prior to Christmas," he explained.

"Some played 7s in the Upper Hunter, but wanted to move into the 15s.

"So, they're very eager.

"And, as part of the Heelers' strategic plan, we'd like more players in the club, too.

"It doesn't matter if they're women, juniors or men.

"We're also looking to kick off a program for anyone who's interested in rugby.

"That will focus on skills, with club-based games.

"We need to do something to attract people to the sport, especially locally.

"If we could put together a women's team, it would be a massive boost for the Heelers overall."

After being beaten by Easts 1 in the 2017 NHRU decider, Muswellbrook accounted for favourites The Waratahs 11-7 12 months later.

They then backed up to knock over the same opponents again, 14-12, in a thriller at Newcastle in September.

"We're determined to defend our title," Hall said.

"A three-peat has a nice ring to it."

If anyone is interested in joining the Heelers, phone Michael Hall on 0408 499 969.