The Goose Step – Edition 01 – Alternate Reality

Welcome to The Goose Step.

This week’s feature goose step… Imogen Howes from the South Perth Lions!
Credit for this photo goes to the amazing Carmel Green.
Send in photos of your favourite stepper’s to creedy@nrl.com.au to be our feature player.

In our first edition for the week, we are having a look at an alternate reality where our league tag girls play in the Womens Premiership competition. Which player’s would switch over well? Already we have had some amazing players succeed at both, from Bobbie-Lee Barker, Melissa-Jane Buchanan and Stacey Hendriks. But surely there are a few others who can be successful.

Without further ado, here is a list of 10 we think would be able to get it done….

10. Kaycee Yeates – Mandurah Storm
Probably the standout at the Mandurah Storm last season, Kaycee is one of those team mates everyone likes. Positive, enthusiastic and a great team player, she is always willing to learn and gets better every session. Responsible for Mandurah’s first league tag try last year, she was far and away one of their better players last year. She is also a keen student of the game and loves to be involved in every facet of a football club and team. Would be a welcome addition to any tackle side.

9. Imogen Howes – South Perth Lions
Let’s be honest. Speed really matters. And Imogen has got a tonne of speed. Quick off the mark, she also has speed over a distance which would be devastating on the end of a tackle backline. With good intensity and a competitive streak, she has already dipped her toe in a bit of tackle football, featuring in the Harmony Cup. But she is yet to have a crack at a full tackle season. In any case, she possesses some serious footwork and pace, which would do wonders in the contact version of the game.

8. Maz Collins – Alkimos Tigers
While the body and injuries may not necessarily agree, Maz was worth her weight in gold at the Tigers last year. One of probably three of four standouts, she led them around the park on both sides of the ball. And when she was out, they looked lost. Not the quickest on the park, she maintains good speed, is fit and has a good football mind. It takes a while to develop footballing IQ, and while its not exactly the same game, League Tag does have cross over. With above average skills and a great attitude towards the game and her team mates, if she chose to, would be a great benefit to the tackle game.

7. Claire French – Fremantle Roosters
Clinical ball playing, play makers can play any version of rugby league. Touch. Tackle. Tag. If you can handle the rock, you can usually transfer seamlessly. And “Frenchy” can def play ball. A deft playmaker in the Roosters lineup, she complements the abilities of those around her seamlessly and is another female in our game who contains natural leadership skills. Fast and fit, she also is a leader in the defensive line, with great linespeed in a very fast game not easy to accomplish. A knack for knowing where the ball needs to be and how to get it there, there is no reason she wouldn’t succeed in the contact version.

6. Shenae Gillmor-Spence – Joondalup Giants
Not unknown in the tackle version of the game, Shenae is a rare one on this list as she would probably be a forward if she crossed over. Possessing a monster work rate in the middle of the field, her natural height and overall aggression would transfer over seamlessly into a contact role. While very mobile, and able to pass and catch on the run, her natural inclination as a runner first would suit a middle role. And even in League Tag she shows a willingness to not take a backstep, get her body in front on every tag, and lead the defensive line up when she can. Always amongst the action, it would be great to see her in the Women’s Premiership.

5. Unice Wani – North Beach Sea Eagles
Okay she did play a couple season games for the Sea Eagles this year, and was looking on an upward trajectory to being quite an interesting player. Fast and committed, she was keen as mustard on the field and basically oozed enthusiasm. Unfortunately it was all over with a devastating knee injury that left our own TikTok star watching from the sidelines for the rest of the year. But her unique blend of exuberance and confidence was refreshing to watch. Having no fear in her game allows Unice to throw her body at the opposition with and without the ball, and we hope its not the last time we see her on the field.

4. Caitlin Pears – Fremantle Roosters
The prototype female athlete these days. Strong and fast with a powerful running style, Pears could easily transfer over. With safe hands and the ability to make defenders look like they are standing still, she could play in any of the outside back roles with ease. Containing not just acceleration but pure top speed, she would be a bonus on the attacking and defensive side of the ball. Although she would need to get used to running through contact, her aggressive running style and natural strength through the ground would definitely allow her to break tackles and beat defenders.

3. Taryn Wylie – Joondalup Giants
Coming into the Giants League Tag setup many moons ago as a fresh faced youngster, Taryn is now one of the mainstays of the Giants machine. Possessing great skills and footballing awareness, it seemed a natural progression for her to move into the tackle game. Potentially able to play anywhere in the backs, she finally got a taste of it in the Harmony Cup, and didn’t look out of place at all. With good defensive awareness and technique, she looked well at home and it seems to be a question of how good can she be rather than will she be good at contact rugby league.

2. April Alan – North Beach Sea Eagles
The forgotten girl in the NRL WA, April was at the top of the world in 2020. At the ripe age of 16, she had won a league tag competition, and scooped the player of the grand final award, before disappearing completely in 2021. What a lot of people don’t know is April is actually a bit of a junior tackle star. Possessing top line speed, superb balance and one of the best fullback tackling techniques for a smaller defender you will see, we hope we see April on the field for someone in 2022. A first class fullback, she would add massive value to any side that she slips into, with her speed and skill a boon to anyone.

1. Shayla Taiwhati – South Perth Lions
She’s a League Tag stand out, and is probably one of the most talented footballers in NRL WA. Possessing amazing game and spatial awareness, she is a natural leader and a player people want to follow. With a huge competitive streak, she is all the makings of a play making lock forward. With great select passing, a natural running game and good footwork, she actually doesn’t get enough credit for how fast she is. Definitely able to hold her own with some of the outside backs in the competition, her kicking game is also in the top tier for female rugby league players. Fit and with a keen footballing mind, its a no brainer that Shayla tops our list of League Tag players who could play Tackle.