The North Queensland Cowboy’s have further committed to women’s participation in rugby league this week, with the launch of a new elite development and coaching academy for girls over the age of 15.
The Toyota Cowboys’ Women’s Academy brings the region a step closer to having their own NRLW team and will provide players skills enhancement, best practice training techniques and facilities, support and guidance, and elite-level coaching.
The women’s academy coaches will travel to Cairns, Townsville and Mackay to deliver a minimum of six sessions annually and will work with the QRL, NRL, clubs and schools to involve female talent.
“We’ve been proactive in supporting the female grassroots and local league this year in Cairns, Townsville and Mackay with our women’s program and will continue to progress this next year, along with starting our women’s academy,” Cowboys chief operating officer, Micheal Luck, said.
The Cowboys’ 2019 women’s program includes sponsorship of the QRL Northern Region Women’s Championship; Townsville, Cairns and Mackay District Women’s Rugby League; support of the Karyn Murphy Cup; and a girl’s clinic hosted in partnership with Harvey Norman.
“Our intent with the Women’s Academy is to focus on elite development,” Luck said.
“It will eventually lead to the club entering an NRLW team that is genuinely representative of the Cowboys and the incredible talent and potential of female players in our region.”
The Cowboys elite pathways coach has been identified as Ben Jeffries, who leverages his current leadership of the men’s elite pathways program and his experience coaching women’s teams.
Jeffries has spent the last four years coaching girls and women’s teams at all levels of the game, most recently taking on the role of head coach for the Queensland U18s team.
“The Cowboys academy will deliver the core skills of rugby league which will enhance their skill level and understanding of the game to put them in better stead for each level they participate in,” Jeffries said.
“There are female players who have the potential to play representative football, but they’ve not been able to access the consistent training they need to meet the standards.”
“The difficult thing with the North Queensland location is the travel required to attend training and a great aspect of the academy is that we will come to the players to deliver consistent sessions.”
“It will give players an edge in between competitions and will give them access to elite pathways.”