June 20, 2024 11:06 PM

Local girls claim Origin title


St Catherine’s Catholic College teacher Matt Edwards with his school’s under-14 girls rugby league side moments after they claimed the Ampol Little Origin for NSW in Queensland.


A talented group of students from Singleton’s St Catherine’s Catholic College guided NSW to Origin glory at Sunshine Coast Stadium last Friday.

The under-14 girls’ line-up celebrated a 12-0 victory over a Queensland side (comprising of players from Yeppoon State High School) to claim the Ampol Little Origin title at halftime of the Women’s State of Origin clash.

“The girls loved it and the parents and students were looked after immensely,” winning coach Matt Edwards (St Catherine’s Catholic College sports coordinator) told The Hunter River Times.

“The Ampol Little Origin Experience was really well put together.

“We had stadium tours, jersey presentations with back drops and Jessica Sergis (2019 NRLW player of the year) presented the jerseys to them.

“We also met Geoff Toovey, the assistant coach, and had an education session with ex NRL player Clinton Toopi and then a training session.”

A fortnight prior, the school group entered a NRL competition to represent NSW where they had to submit a one-minute video as to ‘why they love school rugby league’.

The online video has since had more than 4000 views.

“That competition was sent to us on a Wednesday so we literally had about 45 minutes on the Thursday (and 20 minutes on the Friday) to put together a clip,” Mr Edwards reflected.

“To the girls’ credit, I was on class so they did it themselves and they came up with all the ideas for the video before Molly and Lisa Thomas edited it themselves.”

The final St Catherine’s line-up was comprised of Elise Kerr, Tyla Matthews, Maddy Turnbull, Chloe Jones, Molly Thomas, Keeley Harris, Alex Neyland, Chelsey Chasworth, Matilda Tanks, Lilly-Jane Williams and Georgia Clydsdale (pictured above left to right).

Neyland would go on to score two of her side’s tries while Jones scored the other in wet conditions before a crowd of 7,183.

“The experience was technically only for ten players but we had some parents from our school graciously give up their spot so we could have the 11 students from our video come up,” he continued.

“Both Elise Kerr and Tyla Mathews were injured so I told the Queensland coach just to put all his 11 girls on because it didn’t bother me if we won or lost; I just wanted all the girls to enjoy the experience.

“So, we ended up winning the game 12-0 with only nine players.”

In addition to the Queensland trip, the school also received a $5000 grant as part of the Ampol Little Origin experience.