Rugby League: Newcastle Knights senior women's team aspirations take next step with inaugural Tarsha Gale Cup campaign

HARD YARDS: Newcastle Knights under-18 women's player Sophie Buller, who is expected to captain the club's inaugural Tarsha Gale Cup team, takes the ball up at a training session last month. Picture: Valentine Sports Photopgraphy
HARD YARDS: Newcastle Knights under-18 women's player Sophie Buller, who is expected to captain the club's inaugural Tarsha Gale Cup team, takes the ball up at a training session last month. Picture: Valentine Sports Photopgraphy

Another step towards forming the first Knights senior women’s team takes place this week with the new Tarsha Gale Cup side running out for their maiden junior competition game.   

Newcastle have expressed an interest in housing a franchise for the inaugural NRL Women’s Premiership later this year, but participating clubs have yet to be confirmed.

In the meantime the red and blue jersey launches into uncharted territory, fielding an under-18 nine-a-side squad in the second Tarsha Gale Cup.  

“With the NRL about to create a competition for women, Tarsha Gale Cup will become the first introduction to that,” Newcastle elite pathway manager Casey Bromilow said. “We’re trying to create some footballers that go onto represent the Knights at the elite level.”

The Knights kick-off their nine-round campaign against St George at Dudley Oval on Thursday (6pm) with Whitebridge’s Sophie Buller, who lined up for Cronulla in last year’s first season, expected to be named captain.

Bromilow said the 23 players have been gathered from between Newcastle, Nelson Bay, Muswellbrook and the Central Coast following selection trials at the recent November Nines.      

Meanwhile, World Cup champions and last year’s North Newcastle grand finalists Caitlin Moran, Bec Young and Isabelle Kelly are three of 52 players heading into a national camp under Jillaroos coach Brad Donald on the Gold Coast this week.

KNIGHTS: 1 Joeli Morris 2 Emily Harman 3 Shenay Ball 4 Skye Pullman 5 Ellie Russell 6 Tazmyne Luschwitz 7 Janiya Brown 8 Harmany Liddell 9 Olivia Glanville 10 Sophie Buller 14 Caitlan Johnson 15 Tia Cook 16 Olivia Kernick 17 Bree O’Neill 18 Jasmine Strange