Central West Bullettes to face Melbourne Rebels in pre-season trial at Cootamundra

WINNING FEELING: Amy Townsend celebrating last year's Country Championships victory with the Blue Bullettes. Picture: NORTHERN DAILY LEADER
WINNING FEELING: Amy Townsend celebrating last year's Country Championships victory with the Blue Bullettes. Picture: NORTHERN DAILY LEADER

While the Central West Blue Bullettes might be in for a challenge, this Saturday's trial match against Super W outfit Melbourne Rebels is set to be a massive occasion.

The Blue Bullettes will take on Rebels at Cootamundra, the first time the Central West women's representative team has played a Super W outfit.

Bathurst Bulldogs star and Central West captain Mel Waterford believes the match will be a fantastic experience for all the players involved.

"I think the girls will surprise themselves by playing quite well against them," she said.

"It'll be a big learning curve and it'll be a tough game but I think we'll be able to hold our own in parts of it because there are some really talented girls out this way.

"It'll definitely be a tough game and I'm not expecting us to have it easy by any means but I think it'll be a great experience and we'll have a good shot."

Central West has named a bumper squad for the match, with Parkes Boars players Erica Stevenson and Natalie Caruana listed on the bench.

Training has been a challenge for the team, however, with such large distances between towns meaning the Blue Bullettes have been limited in their preparations.

But they still have managed to string some sessions together.

"We've had a few chances to get together," she said.

"Logistically, it's quite difficult to get us all in the one spot because we do have such a large zone.

"We've been lucky enough to have a few Sunday sessions together. The girls have committed to put in a few hours and we've managed to keep a lot of last year's squad together, which has helped with that consistency."

Women's rugby has grown massively in six years, which is a testament to the work the Central West Rugby Union (CWRU) board has put in according to Waterford.

"The growth of women's rugby in the Central West definitely has a lot to do with the Central West board and [CEO] Matt Tink, considering how much emphasis they've put into not just the men's program but the women's program," she said.

The Rebels are coached by Alana Thomas, whose rugby career kicked off from Forbes, and are preparing for their fifth season in the Super W competition.

"What's impressed me the most about this year's squad has been our players driving our standards higher than previous years and embracing every opportunity presented to them to be better," Thomas told the Rebels' website.

"Our collective focus has been about converting opportunities every day, and every session is an opportunity to be better and that's something we've carried through all pre-season.

"Our players are also stronger than previous years which is a credit to their commitment, drive and the access to the new gym at Rebels HQ which has been great."

Saturday's match will get under way from 2.30pm at the Cootamundra Rugby Club.

  • CENTRAL WEST BULLETTES: 1 Jacky Lyden, 2 Marita Shoulders, 3 Amy Ryan, 4 Melissa Waterford, 5 Shae Annis-Brown, 6 Jean Littlewood, 7 Bridie Comisky, 8 Helen Blackmore, 9 Tegan Miller, 10 Kate Gullifer, 11 Jacinta Windsor, 12 Nicole Schneider, 13 Olivia Crestwick, 14 Jacinta Cooper, 15 Mardi Watts, 16 Molly Kennedy, 17 Amy Townsend, 18 Georgia L'estrange, 19 Gemma Williams, 20 Ebony Fenton, 21 Annie Craig, 22 Lilly Bone, 23 April Rich, 24 Erica Stevenson, 25 Jes Pearson, 26 Danielle Plummer, 27 Darby Richardson, 28 Jamilla Piercy, 29 Karina Kiley, 30 Savannah Dimmock, 31 Natalie Caruana, 32 Kate Marchinton, 33 Emily Kennedy.