Oh and then there was the time we played rugby with the Aussie Pearls…..WOW, what a day it was for our Junior Redback girls as they ran out to showcase their brand of Girls Inter-club Viva 7s rugby at the Goldfields 7’s carnival in Bendigo today.

As a reward to the girls from our Girls Viva 7’s roadshow, the VRU very kindly invited us to play the curtain raiser for the Aussie Pearls vs New Zealand Black Ferns match. We were joined by our friends from Racing, Melbourne & Powerhouse Rugby Clubs and all of the girls did their clubs very proud indeed!

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We started with warm-ups on the back training field. Having to share the space with the Pearls & Black Ferns, the girls got an opportunity to glance across to see what finely tuned athletes out Redback junior girls are up close. We’re pretty certain that both team coaches took the opportunity to look over our way for some pointers. We probably won’t know for sure if they were paying attention until Commonwealth Games time when we see some of our girl’s innovative moves & combinations unleashed in the “fight for Gold”!

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We then moved across to No. 1 field to participate in the new Try 7’s initiative, unveiled by the VRU & Vic Health, for getting girls & women active in rugby. The girls were joined by Pearls, Brooke Walker & Shanice Parker to run through some rugby skills & drills.

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Our team for the game: Flora, Pascale, Sunday, Amelia, Stella, Jaimie, Alice, Poppy, Alannah, Lola, Holly, Claire & Matisse.

Our Redback Girls lined up against the Melbourne Unicorns for the curtain raiser match while Powerhouse took on the remodelled Racing Rugby girls who clearly looked like they had come to play!

We have become used to the Unicorns turning up with surprise ring-ins this season but this time they took it to another level by enlisting Aussie Pearl superstar Mahalia Murphy. In the typical style that we have become used to this season, our girls took up the challenge and before long Miss Murphy knew that it was going to be a long 20 minutes in the office!

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With the Black Ferns warming up on the sideline, Alice knew that with one side step, a fend on Mahalia and valuable metres gained that her star would be rising on both side of the Tasman šŸ™‚IMG_8544

It was certainly no surprise to Alice’s dad when Black Ferns Captain, Sarah Goss approached Alice after the game to get a photo and ask which team she would play for one day….

Alice politely explained to Sarah that the “green” of her boots is the same green as the boots worn by her hero “Ellia Green” AKA the “Green Machine” who proudly wears “Green & Gold”…. but thank you for possibly being the nicest person that we have ever met Sarah Goss!

…meanwhile back to the game… Melbourne were finding their rhythm and starting to run in a few tries out wide as our Redbacks seemed to momentarily forget the meaning of “spread out across the field”. They worked it out during half time and we were in for a great second half of running rugby.

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…and before we knew it, full time was up on the board and it was congratulations all round.

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All four teams immediately lined up and formed a guard of honour for the Aussie Pearls, cheering them onto the field for their match against New Zealand before taking their seats on the sideline for the match.

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After the match there were a few photo & autograph opportunities before our elated but exhausted girls headed back home.

Our own Alice & Luke had worked as ball-kids for the Pearls vs Black Ferns games over the weekend so they stayed back for the final match. Afterwards they were very privileged to be invited for photos with the two powerhouses of womens world rugby….

…….and that was just another Saturday in the life of our Juniors!

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On behalf of the coach & the girls:

A huge thank you goes to the VRU for supporting our girls this year and for inviting them to participate in the Goldfields event and we congratulate them on running a great festival of rugby sevens in Bendigo!

Thank you also to the Pearls & Black Ferns for being so generous with their time with our juniors over the weekend and for being amazing role models for our girls and boys. A truly great group of women!

Thanks to parents, grandparents, friends & families for bringing the girls along and helping out.

A special thanks to Justin & Mark for helping to organise and referee and for putting in the hard work to get our Juniors club to this point.

From here the real work begins, to build on our foundations. Planning forward (2018) we still need more volunteers, coaches and of course girls & boys for our juniors club. We need help fundraising so that we can continue to grow the club, rebuild the grounds and provide new amenities. We have a fantastic Juniors platform to launch from including pathways, age grade and of course Girls Viva 7s. There will be plenty more opportunities for our girls to shine on the big stage, but only a robust pathway will give them the opportunity to make the big stage their own one day! Thats our job…..

We’ll have a social gathering in the coming weeks to celebrate “the year that was”….. communications will be sent out once we work something out.

In the meantime, that’s all folks! The girls have had a lot of great experiences this year, but their favourite one of all? Yep….the mud!

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