Meet the Cudgen Hornets women leading the League Tag charge
CUDGEN Hornets women are making their mark on the playing field.
The unsung heroes of any footy club are the mothers, partners, sisters and daughters who staff the canteen and support players in more ways than one.
But thanks to League Tag, not only do youngsters have a pathway to tackle rugby league but the sideline women can now pull on the boots at Cudgen Hornets Rugby League Football Club.
Previously, when junior contact footy finished at 12 years old, there was nothing girls could play until they turned 18 when they could join a seniors team.
The idea of League Tag - a mixture of rugby league and Oztag - is not new, however, this is only the second season Cudgen has fielded a team.
Letitia Kelly is the Cudgen Hornets' first League Tag women's coach, one of only two trailblazing female coaches in the local competition.
She said the game provided an option for women who would normally be on the sidelines.
It has already helped six players into the Northern Rivers Rugby League Women's Titans team, and has also provided training opportunities with the Tweed Seagulls, who play in the Queensland Rugby League.
Kirra Steadman, 25, grew up on the Gold Coast and has been tossing around the ball in touch games since she was aged six.
She had a two seasons with Burleigh Bears at 15-16 and is now the captain of the Cudgen Hornets' League Tag team.
The clinical exercise physiologist is also a qualified personal trainer and nutritionist and lives in Coolangatta.
"She is the epitome of a leader," Kelly said.
"Just the type of person that you want to have in your team, in your club and just on your side in general.
"A good role model for not only the club but the community in general.
"She encourages young people to get involved and the team do a few sessions with her circuit training during the week. There was no hesitation having her as my captain."
Steadman started with the club's League Tag team last year and was scouted to play for the Women's Titans.
From there it was a quick sidestep to training with the Tweed Seagulls.
Recruiters also selected her Seagulls training partner and fellow Hornets player Zamara Kelly for the Women's Titans squad.
Training with all three teams each week, the younger Kelly followed in her mother's footsteps and playing touch football and Oztag.
The 19-year-old from Fingal Heads has now turned her attention to contact football and is focusing on improving her tackling technique,
The SCU Bachelor of Business student started League Tag with the Tweed Coast Raiders in 2016, before switching to Cudgen in 2019.
"She is one of our more experienced players on the team," coach Kelly said.
"Both girls are really focused on their goals.
"They are just one example of the pathways League Tag can provide to young women in sport.
"They are also role models for many in our team who are just starting out."
The coach invited more women to join the team for the season launch, A Day on the Green, on March 1, which will also feature a gala day for under-14s junior girls to come and try at 1pm at Cudgen RLFC fields.
There will be live music from 3pm.
"It helps women get out of their comfort zone, which is challenging for anyone," Kelly said.
"Women are resilient, we've done what we do for our families for such a long time but this time we can pull on our boots and challenge ourselves.
"It's about meeting other women in a team and it's fun."
For more information, phone Maggie Butler on 0432 354 734.