Raymond Terrace Rugby League Club ready to tackle new season

Raymond Terrace Rugby League Club will field an all new Magpies side in the 2020 Newcastle competition with the formation of a women's tackle team.

Since kicking off senior training last month, the club has seen a steady roll up of women to sessions which secretary Skye Cook said was a positive sign the committee had made the right decision to meet the demand from the Port's female rugby league-loving population to form a side in the Raymond Terrace area.

"We had a lot of women messaging the club last year asking if we had a tackle team," Cook said.

"I think a women's tackle team is something Raymond Terrace needed. A lot of girls are coming through the junior tackle ranks, playing at school, and want to keep going at the senior level.

"Up until now they didn't really have anywhere else to go, especially if they wanted to stay and play in the area."

Lindsay Ridgeway has returned to the club this year as the coach for the Magpies women's tackle team. He said he has been "impressed" with what he has seen from interested players at training sessions so far.

"The girls are already putting in a lot of work at training," he said. "We've been teaching them the fundamentals - right tackle technique, passing, kicking and defence. We're getting good numbers to training each week, too - about 15 girls."

Photo from the Raymond Terrace Magpies tackle teams training at Lakeside on February 4. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Photo from the Raymond Terrace Magpies tackle teams training at Lakeside on February 4. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

The women have been training at Lakeside on Tuesday and Thursday nights with the Magpies men's team. Brooke Roach returns this season as coach-player for the men's team, assisted by Craig Murray.

Roach said the men's team would feature a new wave of juniors who have come up to the senior ranks this year.

He added that the focus of the men's team this season would be on rebuilding the club culture where the "older fellas look after the young ones" on the team and mentor them.

Paul Marquet will coach the club's women's tag team, the Ravens, featuring his daughters Maddy and Ellie, 16.

Maddy, a foundation player of the Ravens, said the team's aim this year was to go one better and get to the grand final. In the past three seasons the side has dropped a game just before the final round.

"Every year we get one game away from the grand final. This year is the year we'll change that," Maddy said.

The 20 year old said she was excited to be playing alongside her sister this year, one in a number of new players who have "come out of the woodwork" to join the team, and for the start of the season.

Prospective players are invited to join training sessions at Lakeside. The tackle teams train from 6pm on Tuesday and Thursday. The Ravens train from 6pm on Monday and Wednesday.

Lakeside's grandstand is set to undergo a $200,000 refurbishment before the start of the 2020 season in April.