More than 100 female rugby league players have received a lesson in empowerment thanks to the 7th Combat Service Support Battalion (7CSSB).
CAPTION: Finau Lapuaha, of the Marsden State High School rugby league team, during a familiarisation swim before tackling the over-water obstacle course at Gallipoli Barracks. Story by Captain Jesse Robilliard. Photo by Private Jacob Hilton.
The 125 women, including league players from Brisbane’s Carinity Education Southside and Redbank Plains, Ipswich and Marsden state high schools, tackled the overwater obstacle course at Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera.
Event organiser Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1) Kelly Hammant from 7CSSB said the activity was the result of previous community engagement.
“The first community engagement activity I did was out at Ipswich and they were very keen to get back on board,” WO1 Hammant said.
“7CSSB have been doing a couple of activities out in the schools, such as Redbank Plains State High School, and everyone talks and they want to get involved so. It’s amazing to see so many girls who are so keen to come on base and do team-building activities.”
The young female rugby league players received some inspiration from former and current rugby league stars.
Member of the Brisbane Broncos NRLW team and 7CSSB driver Private Julia Robinson, and former Jillaroo Tracey Thompson were on hand to encourage the young players.
“I always target those strong women. It’s all about encouragement, so if they see a face of NRL stars here, then it just gives them more motivation to be able to achieve what they want to achieve,” WO1 Hammant said.
Private Robinson said she was happy to lend her support.
“It’s good to see that schools do have a rugby league program for girls because I know when I was going through school, there was nothing like that,” Private Robinson said.
“They have definitely been coming up asking for a few photos.
“It’s definitely good to be here with them, letting them see what I do, not just with football, but to see that I actually have a full-time job with the Army.”
Ms Thompson said it wasn’t just school girls tackling the tough overwater obstacle course.
“We have a group of ladies from Logan PCYC and a group of ladies from the Beyond DV organisation as well,” Ms Thompson said.
“I wanted to bring a lot of our young ones together with some of our older women as well, to build up that confidence and their self-esteem and to show these young ones that they can reach their full potential.”
Finau Lapuaha, from the Marsden State High School rugby league team, was the first to complete the obstacle course.
“It was challenging, but it tested my mindset and I just pushed through it,” Ms Lapuaha said.
“They were yelling out to keep going, especially my coach.
“I think it encouraged me more, the people that were around me.”.