Girls tackling their families’ traditions

TWO GENERATIONS OF RAMS: Danny Stammers and Steve Mooney with Sophie Stammers and Grace Mooney.

TWO GENERATIONS OF RAMS: Danny Stammers and Steve Mooney with Sophie Stammers and Grace Mooney.

Rugby league is a major fixture of rural towns across NSW, and that’s certainly the case in Blayney.

When it comes to family names that are synonymous with Blayney rugby league, Stammers and Mooney are two that readily spring to mind.

From 1983 through to 1995, Danny Stammers and Steve Mooney played around 220 games together and secured two premierships in 1990 and 1993.

The two were also constant Western Rams players during that time and now their daughters – Sophie Stammers and Grace Mooney – are following in their footsteps.

Trained in the realms of touch and league tag, the pair have entered the domain of the rough and tumble of a modified version of the men’s tackle game called the Western CRL Women’s Nines.

Played on a full-sized field but with only nine players, the game is a lot faster than the men’s version.

The transition from touch and league tag to the Nines games has been an eye-opener for the girls.

With three older brothers, Grace has been pummeled in backyard footy since she could run with a ball.

“I think it’s just in my blood,” she said.

“I’ve always wanted to do it and now that the opportunity has popped up, I’ve just done it.”

“It’s probably a bit harder than I thought it would be,” Grace said.

“The ground hurts.” 

Sophie also followed the traditional paths of soccer, netball, touch and league tag, but without brothers to bounce off, her tactics are somewhat different to Grace’s.

“My aim is not to be tackled much because I don’t like it, so I tend to run around a lot and try to avoid the bigger girls,” she said.

As for the dad’s seeing their daughters out on the field getting thumped, there’s no real worries.

“I’m quite comfortable with it really,’ Danny laughed.

‘It’s actually quite funny,” Steve said.

“But at the moment it’s more just grabbing but I think that as the competition grows, it will get even tougher.”