Monday 27 March 2023 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in League, Rugby league, Sports
Cook Islands Rugby League is inviting all women currently playing in the local competition to attend this afternoon’s trial.
“This is an opportunity for our local ladies playing in the local competition to make the national squad,” said Cook Islands Rugby League president Charles Carlson.
“However, to be realistic, this is no place for novices.
“Several ladies with great potential have already been identified, but their commitment and fitness will be a deciding factor in the final selection.”
Carlson said the management had set criteria and expectations for the players to make the final squad.
“We want to pick the best of the best, and that is why we are playing in the World Cup 2025. The Pacific Game will certainly be a stepping stone towards the World Cup 2025 for those wanting to pursue the game seriously.”
The national women’s team will be coached by Rusty Matua, and managed by Natalia Short.
Matua coached the national squad to the Rugby League World Cup in England last year, losing to top teams Australia and New Zealand but defeating France in their pool. He will also coach the World Cup 2025 squad in France.
Carlson hopes to get Matua over in the next few weeks to check out the local talent and discuss the pathway for those wanting to make the Pacific Games and the World Cup 2025 in France.
“We are disadvantaged by our very short national competition compared to playing the game overseas,” said Carlson
“But there are ways of substituting that, providing we have an absolute commitment from players to the programme.”
Carlson said they will include some overseas-based players that are specialists in specific positions in the squad, “providing they meet the eligibility criteria”.
Meanwhile the men’s team coached by Clive Nicholas of Avatiu Nikao Eels is yet to set a day to assemble his men squad.