At Papauta Girl’s College, it is dark with a misty fog surrounding the training grounds, just a hint of light beginning to break through.
Twenty young women between the ages of 16-18 that comprise the Papauta Girls Rugby League Team have just come down from the mountain as their warm up run and are in the middle of passing drills. It is 6:30am.
This is the first time that Papauta Girls College will field a Rugby League side and are part of the historical Inaugural Open Girls Rugby League Tournament where 4 teams will go head to head for the bragging rights of Open Girls Rugby League Champions on Friday 5, August at the LDS Pesega Grounds.
The N.R.L team in Samoa have been coaching all four schools that are participating in the tournament in rugby league skills, know-how and game play.
“Rugby League is a contact sport and it’s very important that we teach the girls how to stay safe in contact,” N.R.L Manager Gabrielle Apelu observes.
“And they love it! We have one school that has over 50 girls in the team, so it will be hard for them to choose their best 20.”
Traditionally a male dominated sport, Rugby League has made leaps and bounds in promoting women in participation and leadership roles, hich has led the NRL Samoa team to host it’s first Open Girls Tackle Tournament.
“Sport isn’t just for showcasing athletic talents,” Apelu says.
“It brings people together and individually you learn how to become a better person.
“Our vision for this tournament is to engage young women in encouraging participation, leadership, and an active lifestyle through sportsmanship.”
This is vision is shared by Digicel, the official partner of the N.R.L Pacific Outreach Program C.E.O Rory Condon says