Group 21's Mackenzie Blackadder, Heidi Richards, Tobey Stewart, Matilda Jones, Lara Hedley, Emily Watts, Tyla Brown, Caitlan Warren, Ruby Bennett and Jules Kirkpatrick selected in inaugural Greater Northern Tigers under-16 league tag side

THE Greater Northern Tigers under-16 league tag side enters the great unknown when it tackles this month's CRL Country Championships at Glen Innes.

That's due to the fact the region - made up of Groups 4, 19 and 21 - is sending its first-ever representative squad in that division to the prestigious tournament on July 20.

But, the selectors and coach, Armidale's Kathryn McCulloch, have named an impressive line-up, which will hopefully open a pathway for the many talented young girls throughout the Hunter Valley and New England.

Group 21 provides the bulk of the team with 10 youngsters - Merriwa's Mackenzie Blackadder; Muswellbrook's Heidi Richards, Tobey Stewart and Matilda Jones; Scone's Lara Hedley, Emily Watts and Tyla Brown; and Singleton's Caitlan Warren, Ruby Bennett and Jules Kirkpatrick - earning a berth.

They'll be joined by Chloe De Gunst, Amiel Griffiths and Tishari-Lee Morgan (Inverell), Kasey Gaukroger, Kiarna Landsborough (Armidale) and Kaziah McLaren (Glen Innes).

To highlight the flair within the playing group, Kirkpatrick, Brown and Jones will also take the touch field for the Hunter Western Hornets at the 2019 Junior Regionals at Orange on July 13 and 14.

"Since it's the inaugural (northern conference) championships, we're not really sure what to expect," McCulloch admitted.

"However, there was a lot of talent on display at our trials.

"And, I'm confident we have the ability to put in some strong performances and be competitive.

"I'm aiming high and hope we can go all the way.

"League tag is relatively new in junior league, but a lot of the players have a background in touch and Oztag.

"So, any region could be tough when the event starts."

Although the Tigers haven't trained collectively, as yet, McCulloch likes what she sees in the Group 21 contingent.

"They were the standout side at the trials," she said.

"They'd obviously been well-drilled and worked together as a team more seamlessly than their opponents.

"Each girl brings her own strength to the outfit.

"But, I particularly like how [as a team] they play a direct style of play with speed and intensity.

"There always seemed to be someone supporting the ball runner and the girls were able to string passes together, using the ball and width well.

"At the moment, they're training with their club and group sides.

"Hopefully, we'll get them all together during the school holidays to fine-tune things."

McCulloch said it was an exciting time for females in both tag and tackle.

"I'm a huge advocate for women's league - and super excited for the future of each sport," she explained.

"I hope I can inspire these girls to dream big and work hard to reach their goals.

"New opportunities are going to continue to come through and they certainly have the ability to take them and go great places."

GREATER NORTHERN TIGERS U16 LEAGUE TAG: Mackenize Blackadder (Merriwa G21JRL), Ruby Bennett (Singleton G21JRL), Tyla Brown (Scone G21JRL), Chloe De Gunst (Inverell G19JRL), Amiel Griffiths (Inverell G19JRL), Kasey Gaukroger (Armidale G19JRL), Lara Hedley (Scone G21JRL), Matilda Jones (Muswellbrook G21JRL), Jules Kirkpatrick (Singleton G21JRL), Kiarna Landsborough (Armidale G19JRL), Kaziah McLaren (Glen Innes G19JRL), Tishari-Lee Morgan (Inverell G19JRL), Heidi Richards (Muswellbrook G21JRL), Tobey Stewart (Muswellbrook G21JRL), Caitlan Warren (Singleton G21JRL), Emily Watts (Scone G21JRL); coach Kathryn McCulloch (Armidale)