Women of Echidnas ready to make history
RUGBY UNION: In this footy season like no other, the women of Roma Echidnas are finally prickling up for their first time on the field.
Non-contact training has resumed, and all going well Downs Rugby is hoping to have all teams playing their first games on Saturday, July 18.
Newly appointed captain Gabrielle Weier said her team was excited to finally get some game time.
“It’s such an exhilarating, empowering feeling to come together as a team and put everything into a game,” she said.
“Those who had a taste earlier in the year are hooked and the new women are equally excited.
“I only started playing rugby this year, but I love a challenge and working hard to ‘beat myself’ … being captain isn’t about being the fastest or most skilled because I’m not, but making sure my team of incredible women are encouraged and supported to be the best they can be.”
This would have been the first year the Echidnas women joined the Emilee Cherry Cup, and is one of the biggest milestones in the club’s long history.
Weier said it was an incredible opportunity to finally have a chance to play, and showed the inclusivity of the sport.
“I have experienced only support and encouragement, no sexism at all,” she said.
“Women and men deserve the same opportunities in all areas of society, so along with the League opening up competitions for teenage girls, footy really is starting to be a place of equality.”
The season should have started back in April, but the coronavirus pandemic quickly dampened hopes of a full season.
In the month, a number of Downs teams have announced they would not play this season, and rugby league seasons in Roma and District and Toowoomba and District also folded.
“The Echidnas are determined to play this year because we love the game so much,” Weier said.
“The club supports the players 100 per cent, and believe they owe it to us and spectators to do whatever they can. Darling Downs and Queensland Rugby are the same.”
Weier said if any other women were thinking about playing rugby, they were more than welcome to come and give it a go.
“No matter how nervous or unconfident you might be … we train Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6pm at Gallas Fox Park,” she said.
“All of us females are new and inexperienced and love making new friends, so you’ll quickly fit in. It’s easier than you think, lots of fun and extremely rewarding.”