Few footballers have earned the right to wear their jumpers with pride more than the girls for Minnamurra Public School.
Trailblazers at such a young age, the group took out the Rod Wishart Shield at Dapto in July, winning three games including the final 18-nil over Shell Cove.
It earned them the right to play at today’s state finals at North Ryde as the Illawarra and South Coast region champions.
The whole time the girls have been wearing football shirts when they take the field, because the boys team were using the school’s only set of rugby league jerseys.
But after their remarkable success, parents and school officials, led by Leanne Mitchell, raised sponsorship to buy league jumpers to wear today.
‘‘The boys were wearing the footy jumpers, so the girls had to wear the soccer ones,’’ Mitchell said.
‘‘But we are all very proud of their achievements and when they made it through to play in Sydney, we decided we needed to do something about getting them some new jumpers.
‘‘They were presented with them at the school on Monday; they look great.’’
In the meantime, Country Rugby League has had to make a new shield for today’s competition to accommodate the growing interest in the sport from young girls.
Playing under modified seven-a-side rules, the girls played in front of 17,000 at WIN Stadium during the half-time interval of a St George Illawarra home game earlier this year.
The girls’ success follows a fine rugby league tradition at Minnamurra, where Australian internationals Brett and Josh Morris attended.
It also continues a remarkable rise in the women’s game, with Australia winning the World Cup with talented Helensburgh players Sam Hammond, Emily Andrews, Tegan Chandler and Emma Tonegato.