Women's rugby on the rise as Hammers at the ready
THE Gympie Hammers women's team has finalised its regular season and begun a pursuit of sevens glory with a win and a loss.
The Hampton and Harlow Hammers team has been training solidly since its 10s season finished in July.
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In its first two games, both on September 15, Gympie lost 10-5 against Maroochy- dore before a 17-5 win over Caloundra.
Hammers women's captain Bec Briggs said the team of 13 had a healthy mix of experience.
"We've got the youngest team on the Sunshine Coast competition," Briggs said.
"I hope to come out on top.
"The youngest girl is 16 years old. That's Ella Findlay and Tahlia Little.
"Almost all of them are 16 or 17-year-olds, but the rest are a bit older."
Briggs said rugby, particularly women's rugby, was growing rapidly.
"That's where the sport is going, and I'm really proud of them," she said.
"I wanted to put a little team together for this competition to get them ready for next season.
"We have the Noosa Sevens competition coming up in October too, and we are aiming high for that."
The Gympie Hammers will enter both men's and women's teams in The Noosa International Sevens tournament, which hosts over 90 teams from across Australia and beyond.
Briggs said the experience her charges had gained, particularly from the past season, would mean only good things for the future of rugby union in the gold city.
"I think it's great experience and it's shown me, this season with our women's 10s, just how big women's rugby can be," she said.
"Everyone who plays in my team is so passionate and involved, they are there every night, working hard, training hard.
"I'm very proud of them."
Briggs said however, there was ground that needed to be made up.
"A lot of girls from Hervey Bay helped us out a lot," she said.
"A few things let us down a lot. I think the league don't take women's rugby seriously enough.
"Women's rugby is getting massive and I just don't think they took us seriously."
The Hammers awarded their best recently, with Best Forward for the season going to Anne Marie Mann, Best Back to Bec Briggs, Most Improved to Gemma Lee and Most Improved Forward to Kimberley King.
The Best and Fairest award went to Olivia Webb who was recently snapped up by the Gold Coast for its Trans Tasman series against New Zealand and Fiji.
"It just shows that you can start in a place like Gympie and work your way up," Briggs said.
Gympie will host Caloundra, Maroochydore, Noosa, USC and The Barbarians at Jack Stokes oval on Friday, October 6.
All six teams will play two games each, beginning at 6pm. All proceeds from the bar and canteen will go to the Gympie Hammers club.