GROUP Nine will continue to build toward its eventual goal of establishing a women's tackle competition after insufficient registrations forced plans for its introduction this year to be scrapped.
With women's participation a massive growth area in all codes Group Nine had hoped to establish open and under-17 competitions, but it has been abandoned after 22 senior and nine junior registrations were received.
Riverina claimed the inaugural women's country championships title last year, and an overlapping of the teams' schedule with the planned five week competition across February and March was one of the issues.
Group Nine board member Andrew Hinchcliffe said they will strive to give as many opportunities as possible for females to play, with the end goal a regular competition.
"There was plenty of interest when we were promoting the competition, but we probably had a few challenges around the timing and the format maybe wasn't quite appealing," Hinchcliffe said.
"But we certainly think there'll be opportunities in the future to promote and develop ladies tackle.
"The Riverina team and their schedule overlapped a bit (with the planned competition), and it just meant the real ladies in ladies tackle weren't able to be as proactive.
"Maybe we went a step too quick in trying to establish a competition. The success of the Albury carnival late in the year is it's based on hosting an event in a carnival-type atmosphere and they're things we'll look to explore.
"Ideally an established competition is where we need to be, but maybe it's a bit too soon for that. We've asked for feedback from the girls who did register."
Southern Inland Rugby Union has had a women's tackle competition in place for a few seasons, and is looking to introduce junior girls tackle divisions this year.
"Maybe we dragged the chain somewhat there. Certainly there's a lot of ladies who have expressed interest in tackle who are playing in an established union competition," Hinchcliffe said.
"That was one of the challenges and maybe it was something we didn't consider enough, particularly from a scheduling perspective."
Hinchcliffe said they would continue to monitor interest in getting a competition up-and-running.
"One thing we'll look to consider for 2020 is the possibility of a Possibles v Probables game to select the Group Nine tackle team," he said.
"Also there may be some development days throughout the year to gauge the level of interest, and really target the younger age groups coming through.
"We'll look at options and lay out a longer term strategy, and do what we can to provide opportunity.
"Hopefully one day we get to a stage where we have a competition where a few more clubs have a presence, but that might be some time away."
Group Nine is also taking expressions of interest to coach it's women's team this season.
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