Rep pathway opening up for Goodna women
MORALE in the Goodna women's squad is at an all-time high after three of its best were selected for the South-east Queensland side.
Most encouraging for the women is that two of the rising talents are playing in their maiden season of rugby league.
Earning call-ups to SEQ are captain Lima So'e, and two players recruited from rugby union ranks, Mashanari Seumanutasa and Tessa Vaoga.
Backrower Vaoga joins the club after a stint at the Queensland Reds. She has adapted seamlessly on field and is thriving within the positive family culture that has been created at the Eagles' nest this season.
As is lock Seumanutasa, who has already improved immeasurably since crossing over from the 15-a-side game.
"The atmosphere and culture are a bit different from rugby union and both are really enjoying being a part of it,” Goodna manager Chanelle Tuigamala said.
"We have 35 registered players and 31 or 32 consistently at training. Many of them have relatives who play at the club.
"There are women from all different cultures and backgrounds. They have a really strong bond and there is such a positive vibe within the group. It is like a family.”
Tuigamala said it was exciting to see the recent converts picked for higher honours because it indicated to the other women that there was a pathway for progression if they were willing to work hard and learn the game.
She said many of the Eagles had been inspired by the representative trio and were training harder than ever, spurred on by the knowledge that participation in women's rugby league is growing and so are the number of opportunities.
"It sets an example for the girls coming through,” she said. "It has encouraged the girls and showed them that there is a lot more that they can achieve outside the club.”
Tuigamala said it had been 20 years since Goodna had a women's team and the SEQ contingent had announced its arrival back on the scene.
"It was good to see Goodna on the map,” she said. "It is a huge achievement for the club and the girls individually, and the club is very proud of them.”
Contesting round 5 of the SEQ Senior Women's Division Two on Sunday, a depleted Eagles line-up missing 13 regulars due to Mother's Day commitments struggled against a skilful Southport unit, losing 42-10 away from home.
Tuigamala said Southport defended particularly well and it was a tough game but it had been valuable experience for the Goodna outfit to see a team of such high quality in action.
"We copped a bit of a hiding,” she said.
"It was our biggest loss of the year but they taught us a lot. They nailed us around the rucks and with their line speed on defence.”
Starring for the visitors in the defeat were former Kiwi Fern Maitua Feterika and up-and-coming Marlene Louisava'a.
Amother rugby union convert, 19-year-old Louisava'a recently moved from New Zealand and the hooker/second rower has already proven an asset to the Eagles.
In other SEQ matches last weekend, Brothers defeated Tweed Heads 14-10 in Division One and Redbank lost 20-18 to Normanby in Division Three.