On Monday, June 26th, 2023, the NRLW St George Dragons Women’s team conducted their training session at Harold Fraser Oval. Jamie Soward, along with the NRLW players, made a visit to our facilities for the evening. The primary objective of their visit was to engage in a discussion with the Dragons Female Pathways Head Coach and the HNW Coach regarding the continuous development of our Pathways programs and the collaborative initiatives in nurturing female athletes within our district.

In the St. George District, Michelle Anderson, the Head Co-Ordinator for the Women’s Pathways, has taken the initiative to develop a Pathways Program for young female athletes aged 15-18. The program aims to enhance their skills and rebuild the sporting culture in the area. The St. George District is actively working towards increasing the number of players in the 15s and 16s age groups and hopes to select talented individuals to participate in the prestigious Lisa Fiaola Major Tournament which commences in February 2024, with trials being held September 2023.

Recognising the need for growth in the 17s and 18s age groups as well, open trials will be organised in September to form a Tarsha Gale Team. The district is committed to providing intensive training to equip their girls with the necessary skills and competitiveness for the trials. In collaboration with Steve Kelly, the current Harvey Norman Coach, and Vai Alaia, Michelle has also established an 18+ academy to prepare players for the Dragons Harvey Norman Women’s trial.

Reflecting on the previous years’ experience, Michelle acknowledges that they started late in entering their HNW team, resulting in a lack of sufficient training, strength and conditioning for the girls heading into the tournament. However, this year, they are determined to gain a head start and believe that they will be far more competitive. The introduction of the HNW Academy has been a source of excitement for Michelle. It not only allows some of the Tarsha Gale girls to prepare for the HNW trial, but also sees former players returning who had left due to limited opportunities.

Michelle’s message to those who had previously left the club is an invitation to return home. She hopes to create an environment where every female athlete aspires to be a part of the Dragons Club. Recognising that achieving this goal will take time, Michelle emphasises the importance of developing a great Pathway Program led by exceptional coaches, fostering a positive atmosphere, and cultivating a strong sporting culture. The club remains dedicated to constant improvement, knowing that by making necessary adjustments, will ultimately achieve perfection.