The inaugural Harvey Norman Women’s National Championships will have a strong West Australian flavour to it with 10 local girls selected to represent the Combined Affiliated States (CAS) in Brisbane between June 1-3.
Juraea Turner, Kailey Thompson, Anneka Stephens, Cara Lucky, Chanelle Edwards, Danyel Davan, Keisha Marshall, Layna Nona Busch, Melissa Thomas and Hayley Carstairs were chosen for representative honours after impressing for WA at the CAS Championships in March.
The CAS team, comprised of girls from WA, Victoria and Northern Territory will compete against Queensland, Queensland Country, New South Wales, New South Wales Country and the Australian Defence Force during the three-day tournament.
With Western Australia accounting for half of the 20 woman squad, lock Anneka Stephens says she can’t wait for the tournament to start.
“It’s a really big honour being able to represent our very own State,” she said.
“To be able to go to the National Championships and show them what WA has to offer is huge.”
For many of the girls, the news of finding out they made the CAS team was met with a sense of relief and elation, but for 19-year-old Carstairs, the experience was a little different.
After not hearing her named called out in the original squad announcement, Carstairs thought her representative dreams were over for another year until being drafted into the team as an injury replacement last week.
“I only found out I was selected to play a week before leaving. Unfortunately, one of the original players got injured so I was pulled in as a replacement,” she said.
“I couldn’t even process the whole situation properly because I had to work two minutes after I was told.
“I cried a lot of happy tears when I finally finished – I still don’t think it’s real sometimes.”
Carstairs, the sister of West Coast Pirate Aidan, is one of six WA girls who will earn her first CAS selection, alongside Edwards, Lucky, Marshall, Stephens and Thompson.
Davan (2016-2018), Nona Busch (2017), Thomas (2017) and Turner (2017) have all earned previous selections, with 2018 the first time a Championship will be held.
The team will be coached by John Wilson, while WA’s Abbie Williams has been named as Team Manager.
Special thanks to Strength and Conditioning Trainer Maurits Bruns who has been training with the girls for the last eight weeks as they prepare to leave for Brisbane on May 28.
NRL WA would like to wish all of our WA girls the best of luck for the Championships.