Don’t tell Dakota Durrant, Elsie Hunt, Eliza O’Donnell, Elly Bryiell and Piper Rankmore - or their Central North team-mates for that matter - that rugby is a boys sport.
The quintet will continue their rugby education on the Central Coast this weekend as women’s rugby takes another historic step.
Bryiell, Hunt, Durrant and Rankmore will be part of the first-ever Central North under-17 girls 15-a-side team while O’Donnell will take the field for the Kookaburras under-15s when the first Country Championships for both age groups are staged.
The youngest of the contingent, O’Donnell has been in the game the longest.
“I was six when I started playing rugby,” she said.
“I started playing in the carnivals for the Red Devils.”
Playing prop or second row, she was for the first four years the only girl in her side, and often the opposition. For some that could be daunting but O’Donnell loved it.
“It was fun,” she said.
She has a bit of an idea what to expect this weekend after being part of the CN under-13s sevens side last year.
“I’m looking forward to next weekend, I’m pumped,” she said during last weekend’s training camp.
It was a sentiment shared by Durrant, Hunt and Bryiell.
“I’m really excited, you get to meet some nice people,” Bryiell said.
There is also the prospect of higher honours with NSW selectors to be in attendance at the championships.
Also a prop or second rower, Bryiell said rugby is something she would like to pursue, and named Emma Tonnegato, Ellia Green and Charlotte Caslick as her favourite players.
Like O’Donnell, she and Hunt are both boarders at Calrossy but are only comparatively early in their rugby journey. As is Durrant.
“I was in Year 7 and my teacher asked me to play,” she said.
A centre, she said one of the things she enjoys about rugby is “when you do something cool and everyone in the audience is like wow”.
She also likes that it isn’t only a boys sport. In fact that was one of the reasons she started playing – to disprove the people that said it was, to which Bryiell chimed in “I reckon the girls play harder than the boys”.
Both sides tackle Hunter in their first game on Saturday.