The Gold Coast Airport Tweed Seagulls women’s team will take part in Queensland Rugby League history this season by claiming their place in the inaugural eight-club statewide BHP Premiership.
The Tweed club fielded a women’s team for the first time only last season yet has developed quickly enough to be chosen alongside some of the most established teams in the women’s game – and believe they can compete well.
PICTURED ABOVE: Seagulls players Daisy Gordon (left) and Abby Beecher with coach Mike Castle and general manager operations and service delivery, Brett Curtis, at today’s media launch of the Gold Coast Airport Seagulls women’s team season.
A second piece of history takes place this Sunday when the team plays a curtain-raiser to the men’s Intrust Super Cup side. They open their 2020 season campaign at Piggabeen Sports Complex on Sunday with the Gold Coast Airport women’s team taking on Souths Logan Magpies at 1.20pm followed by the Campbell Construction Group ISC side going head-to-head with Northern Pride at 3pm.
“It is a tremendous reward for the effort of the girls and the coaching staff last season to earn entry into the first BHP Premiership – and also a great recognition of the board’s decision to pursue what is the quickest growing part of rugby league,” said Seagulls CEO Paul Stephenson.
“Without the support of the Gold Coast Airport, however, this would not have been possible. Their sponsorship and ongoing support of the team has made it financially viable for us and together we are very proud of how much we have progressed women’s sport on the Tweed in such a small space of time.”
Gold Coast Airport General Manager Operations and Service Delivery, Brett Curtis said, “We are excited about supporting the Gold Coast Airport Tweed Seagulls Women’s Rugby League team, as they represent northern NSW in the Queensland Rugby League BHP Premiership this year.”
“Competing at a state level represents a significant step up for the team in only their second year playing together and comes after a successful first year. This is evidence of the vision for the team being realised.
“This partnership, which we have extended by two years, is important to us because it ensures women’s rugby league in northern NSW continues to be represented at a state level. We are proud to support and promote women’s sport and the creation of opportunities for talented females to compete at the highest level.
“We are pleased to see that the Tweed Seagulls have been able to attract the best talent from Australia and overseas, while providing opportunities for players from northern NSW and the Gold Coast.”
The women’s team will go into their second season confident of their ability to compete at this new level. In 2019 they produced the club’s first State of Origin women’s player in back-rower Jessika Elliston who switched from rugby sevens to league only last season.
And in October halfback/hooker Tarryn Aiken joined Elliston in being contracted to the Brisbane Broncos for the second NRLW competition and was lasted shocked to be selected in the Australian team for the end of season for the World Cup Nines competition. And the Seagulls claimed the upset of the season with a 22-18 victory over women’s game Queensland champion side Burleigh Bears.
The Seagulls have picked up some experience in Canadian rugby union Test player and current member of the Queensland Reds squad, Gabby Senft, and Souths Magpies experienced forward Diaz Seumanutasa who has been in the QAS program for the past two years.
And the club is close to securing another major signing (watch this space).
Coach Mike Castle, who takes over from Kelvin Wright, expects further improvement in 2020.
“The bulk of last year’s squad are still with us and will benefit greatly from last season’s experience and we have been fortunate to add some experienced players too,” said coach Mike Castle.
“The goal is to just to keep improving. Kelvin set a really good platform last year and the success of Tarryn and Jess going onto high representative honours is a great incentive for our girls.
“I expect us to keep building on that hopefully provide the opportunity for more girls to go onto higher level. We have a really skillful and mobile team, certainly in the forwards, and hopefully we can use that to our advantage and worry most teams.
“It’s a tougher competition than last year but I’m confident we will compete really well.”
Gold Coast Airport supports more than 40 groups and initiatives on the Gold Coast and in northern NSW each year through its corporate sponsorship program and Community Benefit Fund.