Rugby League: North Newcastle women set for NSW Premiership grand final against Redfern

REWARDING: North Newcastle women's captain Bec Young with husband, and coach, Mick Young and their two children Jarrah, 7, and Colbee, 2. Picture: Marina Neil

REWARDING: North Newcastle women's captain Bec Young with husband, and coach, Mick Young and their two children Jarrah, 7, and Colbee, 2. Picture: Marina Neil

Bec Young has played in some big sporting matches.

The Newcastle 35-year-old dual international was part of the Jillaroos team which captured the World Cup in 2014 and has captained the Indigenous All Stars to glory on her home turf.

The inspirational mother of two helped NSW end Queensland’s 16-year stranglehold of the women’s interstate challenge last year then this year defend the title.

But when she leads North Newcastle onto Leichhardt Oval for the NSW Rugby League Women’s Premiership decider on Sunday, the moment will be just as big as any other milestone the passionate Novocastrian has achieved in her esteemed sporting career.

Young and her husband Mick, who came through the Knights system, entered a women’s rugby league team in the Sydney competition under the banner of Maitland Pickers in 2012.

They became the Hunter Stars last year and drew players from a larger area and this year found a new home with North Newcastle as the competition was rebranded as the NSW Premiership.

They started training in November last year and quickly established a professional culture and ethic in the squad.

They played an exhibition game against the Cronulla Sharks as the Newcastle Knights in April and, at the time, Young rated it is as one of the proudest moments of her career.

Sunday will be right alongside that.

“In regards to expectations for the year, we just wanted to be able to finish the season. With Hunter Stars and our last year of Pickers, we actually didn’t finish the year well because of injury and work commitments,” Young said.

This is a massive reward and it honestly just feels like we’ve accomplished what we set out to do.

Bec Young

“It’s been a season of ups and downs. At the start of the year a couple of us were out on representative honours and we got beat by 50 in the first two games, so we were a little bit worried about that.

“Then in the second round we tied six or seven wins together and we thought, ‘We might have a chance here’.”

They finished the season fourth and have survived three do-or-die finals to make the grand final.

“Mick and I have both worked really hard to build rugby league in Newcastle and to make sure girls and women have a choice to play rugby league is probably the reason why we first started,” Young said. “So this is a massive reward and it honestly just feels like we’ve accomplished what we set out to do.”

North Newcastle have not beaten Redfern this year but Young said they were missing key players in their last outing and rated Jillaroo Simone Smith, who has missed the finals series but returns this weekend, as the “surprise up our sleeves”.

The game is at 4.20pm.