November Nines kicks off

STEPPING UP: Dapto's Courtney Crawford and Ashleigh Slatter will be part of the Canaries first November Nines team on Saturday. Picture: Sylvia Liber.
STEPPING UP: Dapto's Courtney Crawford and Ashleigh Slatter will be part of the Canaries first November Nines team on Saturday. Picture: Sylvia Liber.

THE next Kezie Apps, Sam Bremner or Keeley Davis may well be in action at Ziems Park on Saturday when the fourth running of the IRL's November Nines gets underway.

It's where Davis, then a soccer and OzTag standout, got her first taste of rugby league in a format that is the perfect introduction to the game.

The Nines event will features open age and under 17s divisions with 21 teams participating including new sides from powerhouse clubs Wests and Dapto with a view to joining the premier Illawarra Women's League.

IRL general manager Chris Bannerman says the yearly event has proven a valuable recruitment tool with many of the new players warming to the tackle format of the game and filtering into the Illawarra's open and under 18s competitions.

"About four years ago I had discussions with local NRL development staff about how we could better introduce new females into the game, and the November 9's concept was born," Bannerman said.

"This has now been replicated across many regional areas of NSW with great success.

"It was only a few years ago we saw Keeley Davis try her hand at the tackle game with Corrimal at the inaugural Illawarra November Nines, and she has never looked back to the point of earning a Jillaroos jersey."

"With clubs like Dapto and Wests now getting involved for the first time it opens up more opportunities for local girls to participate and aspire to the highest levels of the game, all from our competitions here in Illawarra".

This story November Nines kicks off first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.