STEAMROLLER: It takes four Group 3 defenders to drag down Gladiators' Mishika Randall during the inaugural North Coast representative clash at Kempsey.
STEAMROLLER: It takes four Group 3 defenders to drag down Gladiators' Mishika Randall during the inaugural North Coast representative clash at Kempsey. Paul Dwyer

Group 2 stars in landmark moment for bush footy

RUGBY LEAGUE: In a watershed moment for women's rugby league on the North Coast, the Group 2 Gladiators overcame Group 3 18-14 in the first ever women's tackle representative clash for the region.

It was a bruising match played at high speed at Kempsey's Verge St Oval.

The representative match also doubled as a selection trial for the North Coast Bulldogs women's representative side to play in the CRL Country Championships next year.

But for South Grafton Rebels player Mishika Randall, who captained Group 2, it was another giant leap forward for womens rugby league in the region.

"It was excellent, I love rugby league, I have been playing since I was a kid and it is just good to get an opportunity like this one,” she said.

"It was definitely fast-paced. The Group 3 girls came at us with plenty but our girls stuck with them and came out on top. Both teams played with their heart and soul.”

Randall, 35, who has played at the highest level for the Australian indigenous side back in 2001, was utilised in short, sharp bursts by Group 2.

"I was happy to keep coming on and off the field, it was pretty hot over there,” she said.

Randall said the clash, and the opportunity to represent the North Coast, was deserved recognition for women who just love the game of league.

"There is a lot of talent around here and it is finally getting recognised, it's just a shame it didn't come earlier for me,” she said.

"If I get my chance in the North Coast side I certainly won't let them down, but there are a couple of other Rebels girls in Shellie Long and Karri Williams who deserve the shot.

"Karri played on the wing for most of the clash before she moved into the halves, where she scored an awesome solo effort. She is just a gun.”

Randall also paid tribute to Group 2 women's coach Loretta Donovan, who had drilled the girls well in only a handful of training sessions before the representative clash.

The North Coast Bulldogs team is expected to be announced later this week to give players a chance to go into training camps after the Christmas period.