Local News

FEMALE rugby players will soon be able to shower, change and have team briefings in a women’s-only change room for the first time thanks to a Federal Government grant.
As male-dominated sports like rugby undergo an explosion in popularity with female players, clubs are installing ladies change blocks to accommodate the new membership.
Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien announced a $157,400 grant to the Maroochydore Rugby Union Club to build female change rooms with toilets and showers for home and visiting teams, matching the facilities available for male players.
Mr O’Brien said the Community Sport Infrastructure Grant would ensure the club’s 45 female players had somewhere private to shower and change after a rough-and-tumble game.
“Women’s rugby has been getting huge since the Aussie ladies won gold at the 2016 Olympics and has absolutely taken off on the Sunshine Coast,” said Mr O’Brien.
“The Maroochy Swans are booming but because of the history of the sport the club does not have facilities specifically for their female players.
“This grant will ensure the girls’ teams are looked after with an amenities block that includes a large change room area and toilets and showers with doors.”
Maroochy Swans Open Women’s captain Angela Coombes said the grant would make a huge difference to the privacy and comfort of female players.
“The girls will be much more comfortable if they have their own facilities which they can use to get ready and strapped prior to the game or when they have to take their jerseys off afterwards.”
Ms Coombes said rugby union on the Sunshine Coast was leading the way incorporating women into the sport.
“Women’s rugby on the Sunshine Coast has increased dramatically since 2016 when the competition started with 50 registered players to now what has become a stand-out women’s competition in Queensland with an estimated 150-plus women’s players in 2019,” said Ms Coombes.
“Across the Sunshine Coast region there were 1,705 female rugby players in entry level programs and this year we should see female rugby participation in Queensland rise to 27%, with 24,000 female players.
“Quite a number of our Sunshine Coast players have progressed from our local clubs to competing for QLD Reds and even the Australian team.
“With facilities such as what Maroochydore Rugby Union club will soon be able to offer, those numbers will only increase more.”
Rugby Australia head of women’s rugby Jilly Collins said it was fantastic to see more clubs upgrading facilities to accommodate their female players with government support.
‘’This funding will make a huge difference by making players feel welcomed and valued in Maroochydore. I hope it attracts even more new players, volunteers and supporters,” she said.
The Women’s 12s Rugby Union competition starts on the Sunshine Coast Saturday 27 April 2019.

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