RUGBY UNION: Gympie Hammers player Bec Briggs believes the local women's rugby union team has the potential to take the Sunshine Coast sporting scene by storm.
The Hammers are in the process of establishing a permanent women's side to contest the Coast competition this season after several Gympie players were part of a combined Gympie and Maleny team last year.
Women's rugby has skyrocketed in popularity on the back of the Australian rugby sevens team winning gold at the Rio Olympics last year and Briggs thinks Gympie has an untapped market for female playing talent.
"I think it will be huge in Gympie,” she told The Gympie Times.
"It (women's rugby) is only going to get bigger once people start watching us play.
"I think the community will get hooked on it.”
Briggs and her Hammers teammates are mid-way through their first formal pre-season and have been sweating it out with their male counterparts twice a week since early January.
"We do everything that the men do; there is no difference,” she said.
There are more than a dozen budding female players who have signalled their intention to wear blue and gold this season, some travelling from as far away as Hervey Bay and Kenilworth.
"The club wants us to succeed,” Briggs said.
"It is about the team and it is about women being able to compete.
"We can show the men how competitive we are.”
Gympie will look to field a 10-a-side team while teams on the Sunshine Coast also prepare for 2017.
Maleny, Noosa and Caloundra have all expressed their intentions to field a team this year with a Sunshine Coast representative side announced later this season.