If Brothers Penrith’s recent female recruitment drive is anything to go by, they may need to change their name to ‘Sisters Penrith’ in the not-too-distant future.
The junior rugby league club of Nathan Cleary and Greg Alexander is hoping they can produce more NRLW talent in the years to come – boosting their female stocks for the upcoming season.
With the announcement by Panthers Juniors regarding on-age girls competitions for 2024, the club have conducted a big promotional effort to recruit females, and they are now on track to have an all-girls team for every age group from U12’s up.
Brothers Penrith coach, committee member and female ambassador Mark Lewis said the club is committed to recruiting a full complement of girls teams off the back of recent changes made by Panthers Juniors.
“Panthers Juniors have announced U8, U10, U12, U13, U14, U15, U16 and U18 girl-age teams. Last year, at Brothers, we only had an U13s and U15s team, with a lot of our girls playing up a year to get into those teams,” Lewis told the Weekender.
“Some of the clubs in the competition had multiple girls’ teams for some age groups but, as part of these new rules, each club is only permitted to have one girls team per age group.
“What that will do is spread the talent out and gives other clubs, like ours, an opportunity to field more girls’ teams.”
With the NRLW continuing to expand every few years, the women’s game is exploding from the seniors right down to the junior level.
Lewis said the club is “very serious” about promoting the female game and have even recruited an experienced coach to take charge of their new U18s team this year.
“Our new U18’s coach, Kevin Chester, has come across from the Wentworthville Harvey Norman’s Women’s Premiership club, where he’s coached for the past three years,” he said.
“He was a part of the Parramatta Pathways Program and has a wealth of experience – it’s fantastic to have him on board.
“We have men’s teams in the Sydney Shield and Ron Massey Cup competitions and we want our girls to share in the same success that our boys have. We’re not a club that says we look after our boys more than our girls. We want our girls to be up there alongside them.”
If you’re interested in becoming a sister at Brothers Penrith in 2024, the club is holding a Registration Day for all players this Saturday, February 3 from 7.30am at Parker Street Oval.
Potential players can mix with coaching staff and the Club Executive as well as check out the new male and female headgears and jerseys available.
“Last year our U13 and U15 girls teams – all first time players most of them – won their respective Grand Finals and we look forward to building on that success this year,” Lewis said.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for a decade.