Batley Bulldogs Girls Rugby League team enjoyed a trip of a lifetime during their recent historic tour to Queensland, Australia.
The tour attracted national media attention in Australia, while the 47-strong party of players, coaches and parents thrived in the conditions of being involved in quality girls rugby league Down Under.
The Bulldogs created history when they defeated Queensland State Championship runners-up Beenleigh High school 14-8.
They also ran the Sunshine Coast representative team close when they had two tries harshly disallowed in a 20-12 defeat.
Game of the tour saw Batley meet Australian school champions Merrimac High School, in a clash filmed by Australia’s Channel Nine.
The temperature during the game was in the mid-30s and two players collapsed after, while others were left in tears as the Bulldogs gave everything but were beaten 16-4.
Speaking after the match, NRL women and girls head development officer for Queensland, Keeown Rawlsey, said: “That was the best game of youth footy I have seen in two years.
“Those Pommy girls of yours have hearts as big as pumpkins. They would go really well in our club competition out here.”
The girls then went straight into the schools swimming pool for a recovery session before enjoying a barbecue. Bulldogs Girls coach Craig Taylor said: “The tour was an amazing learning curve for our girls.
“We have won every game played in the UK but in our first game in Australia, we got physically and mentally beaten 48-0 and just two days later had to back up against a representative team.
“The girls game in Australia is so far in front of ours in the UK. The Sunshine Coast rep team had 30 girls teams to select players from just in that area. We don’t have 30 in all of the UK.
“Our girls learned more from the games they lost in Australia than all the matches they won last year and they would love to play in that level of competition every week.
“The Australian people’s hospitality was second to none the girls and parents were treated like royalty.
“We are looking forward to this coming season and defending our title and the girls will be training four times a week from January.”
Taylor is also aiming to improve player welfare in girls rugby league, while offering academic support.
He plans to have career advice for older players and aims to bring local employers and colleges to the club to give talks to the girls.
Taylor added: “As a club it is important that we look after these girls’ physical and emotional health and set them out on the right path in life.”
Batley Bulldogs Girls are recruiting new players for next season and welcome girls in school years seven to 11 regardless of experience.
The club are also looking for sponsors as they require three new kits. Anyone who can help the girls can contact the club or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.