CRL Newcastle head coach Rick Stone has revealed his first team list of the 2019 Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership, with the starting squad and extended bench dripping with NRLW talent alongside rising Hunter talent.
The Novocastrian state team will face West Tigers in the opening round of the competition, welcoming the Sydney-based club to Dudley Oval on Saturday, March 23.
Fresh off the back of their debut campaigns in the NRL Women’s Premiership, international stars like St George Illawarra Dragons trio Holli Wheeler, Mel Howard and Hannah Southwell have all been named in the squad.
They are bolstered by further national talent like the Sydney Roosters’ Kylie Hilder, and inaugural World Golden Boot recipient and Jillaroos superstar Isabelle Kelly.
Stone’s squad also boasts representative talent in the form of Rebecca Young and Emma Young, who were both named in the Country NSW Women’s National Championships Squad in April of last year.
There’s also a shining light for the Newcastle Knights, with one of their Tarsha Gale Cup graduates set to star in the side.
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Running out her last year in the under 18 national competition as her hometown club captain, Sophie Buller has now locked her place in the 13-player format to represent Newcastle in another iteration.
She first made her appearance with CRL Newcastle in May of last year. The wrecking-ball forward has been named at lock.
Buller is joined by fellow TG Cup graduate Tazmyne Luschwitz, who just last week played a crucial role in Newcastle & Hunter’s representative campaign in the Women’s Country Championships.
CRL Newcastle finished seventh in the 2018 season, recording five wins and six losses as they struggled for form away from home in the NSW league.
Now, the Country Rugby League-backed squad has turned to former Newcastle Knights and Huddersfield Giants coach to guide them into a new, post-NRL Womens era in the NSW Women’s Premiership.
Stone’s first game at the helm of the Novocastrian club will kick-off from 6pm at Dudley Oval this Saturday evening.
Team List: Claire Reed, Stacey Markham, Skye McKenzie, Isabelle Kelly, Alicia Martin, Olivia Higgins, Melanie Howard, Rebecca Young, Kylie Hilder, Emma Young, Holli Wheeler, Hannah Southwell, Sophie Buller; Bench & Reserves: Tazmyne Luschwitz, Tayla Predebon, Alyssa Tai, Priscilla Tremain, Magaret Watson, Georgia Smyth; Coach: Rick Stone.