JUNE 16 2020 – NEWCASTLE HERALD
NSW flyer keen to lead charge for Hunter in Sydney women’s competition
NSW Waratahs flyer Maya Stewart is excited at the prospect of a Hunter women’s team competing in the Jack Scott Cup competition in Sydney.
Stewart had been tossing up joining Hamilton twins Nicole and Leilani Nathan at Eastern Suburbs.
But Monday night‘s announcement that the NHRU have submitted an expression of interest for the women, men and colts representative teams to join the Sydney competition this season has forced a rethink.
“It’s really good that they are doing it and really important,” Stewart said. “That’s so cool. I’m definitely interested. It’s exciting.
“I have played for Country against Sydney and we actually beat one of the Sydney teams. The games will be faster and the contact will be harder. It will be a good opportunity to express yourself in front of selectors and better players.”
Stewart is fresh from a breakthrough year for the NSW Waratahs in which she scored an incredible 10 tries in four games before the Super W season was shut down due to COVID-19.
Although commuting to Sydney to train and play for NSW, Stewart has played the past two seasons for the Waratahs in the NHRU competition.
“I have only been playing since 2018 but I definitely think to competition has gotten stronger,” she said. “We would definitely be competitive.”
The Jack Scott Cup consists of nine clubs led by Sydney University, Warringah, Easts, Randwick and Parramatta, with each club to play eight games plus finals.
“We are absolutely stoked that we have the opportunity to give these girls a pathway they would normally have through NSW Country, which isn’t available this year due to COVID-19,” Hunter assistant coach Will Scully said.
“All the credit goes to [NHRU director] Nicola Roche. She has done all the leg work with the Sydney Rugby Union.”
NSW centre Katrina Barker also played locally last season and has previously played for Warringah,.
Annika Jameson (No.8), Brooke Saunders (lock) and Ashleigh Walker (12) were selected for the Melbourne Rebels from Newcastle last season.
Hunter, who will be coached by Adam Dubois, will hold an open selection trial within a fortnight.
“If 25 turn up, that’s great,” Scully said. “If 50 turn up, we will take everyone on their merit and assess them.
“We have girls like Kaitlan Leaney, Peta Salter, Hayley Amm and teenager Sophie Clancy, who played NSW Country or were on the fringe last year. I think we can knock over the mid-table teams. It will be come down to training and players buying in.”
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