On Friday 9th September, 3 Bulldogs set off to make a small part of rugby league history.
Under 16s girls players Evie Kilburn, Millie Taylor have been invited as part of a NRL outreach program to play for Australian school champions Merrimac High. They will be accompanied by Craig Taylor who has been invited to coach and spend time with Queensland development staff on their tour of New Zealand.
Craig and the girls will attend Merrimac High School on Monday and Tuesday as part of the rugby league programme before flying out to Auckland on 14th September.
The girls have a gruelling schedule, with games on 5 of the 7 days they are out there. Evie and Millie will play against the New Zealand School Champions, plus 2 other games at rugby league. They will also take part in a number of rugby union 7s matches.
It’s an amazing achievement for 2 female players from little old Batley to be invited to represent the Australian School Champions.
The girls know they have a tough task.
Millie said: “I’m so excited, but really nervous. I’ve played against some New Zealand girls before on last year’s tour in Ipswich, Queensland they bashed us Bulldog girls. That experience has made me a better player, and I can’t wait to get out there.”
“It’s a real privilege to be selected. It will be great to catch up with friends from the Gold Coast. I love the Bulldogs and I hope I don’t let anyone down.”
Evie said: “I’m really, really excited to play for the Aussie’s, but very nervous. The Kiwis are big powerful girls, and they hit hard, I found that out last year. It’s a real honour to be part of this tour and hopefully Millie and I will do the Bulldogs family proud.”
Craig said: “These are two very talented players from a very talented u16s team. But they could not do what they do week in week out without the support of their teammates.”
“The club look to have a number of future international players. Hopefully with our experience down under we can come back and make the Bulldogs women and girls section even stronger.”
Craig and the girls have been fundraising for the trip. Unlike here, girls’ rugby league is supported in Australia and the NRL have heavily subsidised the cost of the tour, but the Batley trio have to fund their own flights to Australia and their accommodation once there, which is why the club are accepting last minute donations. If you can help please contact Craig Taylor on 07745582387.
In the meantime, the club and girls would like to thank everyone: the WRLA, local businesses and individuals, for their help and generosity.
Craig also said: “The players and parents have been so supportive of Evie & Millie that’s great to see. I’ll make sure plenty of photos and reports get back to the club. I would like to thank everyone for their support.”
We look forward to following the progress of the Batley trio during the tour and know that they will make the most of this wonderful opportunity.
Report courtesy of Craig Taylor