Women's Rugby in WA
Women’s Rugby was first played in WA in 1991 during the “Golden Oldies: over 35 year tournament which Santa Monica old girls from the USA challenged Perth to a game. This was so successful and got such great TV coverage, that four teams were formed in 1992 – Palmyra, Kalamunda, Nedlands-Cottesloe and Perth Bayswater.
From there, teams have fluctuated between 5-8 each season.
1995 saw the formation of the first state team which played in NSW winning 1 out of 3 games.
In 1996 a state team was sent to the Nationals in Sydney. This team played extremely well against the top Australian team, Queensland scoring the highest points against them all year 47-10. Although WA lost 3 out of 4 games they played extremely well, especially in the scrums.
Those games were covered by TV and the local media as well as the new “Rugby Review” magazine.
From the WA players, Tania Amphlett from Mirrabooka was selected to the Australian Team to play Ireland and New Zealand.
Several other state players were also close to being selected, highlighting how fast the sport has grown in WA.
WAWRU (WA Women's Rugby Union) was formed and became incorporated in the early 90s. A constitution was drawn up & committee meetings were held regularly with all clubs to have a representative attend meetings.
All games were organised by WAWRU including referees, pitches and all supporting staff including the state team & organised tours.
In 1997, WAWRU hosted the Australian Championships and organised everything with Cottesloe Women's team playing a leading role to the extent that even our very own Carolyn Cotter was the commentator at the ground for the games. [need pic of Carolyn]
The Women’s league historically played on a Sunday with all 4 games played at one single venue with the host club providing food & entertainment for all participants.
In 2010, RugbyWA took over running of the women’s competition & looked after the competition & referees as they do today.
Cottesloe Women's Rugby - The SheGulls
Nedlands-Cottesloe Womens team was formed in 1992 with the start of the women's league in WA. In 1994, the “Cottesloe” was dropped from the Neddies-Cott team and the team played & trained at Nedlands as Nedlands with Tom Fearn as the coach. In more recent times, Tom Fearn was the backs at the Western Force & now coaches in Japan. In 1995 Nedlands won the Grand Final defeating the previously unbeaten Perth-Bayswater.
In 1996, it was decided to expand the women’s competition. Queen Carolyn Cotter (as she is fondly known at the Nest) as a Cottesloe girl convinced eight other girls to join her started the Cottesloe Women’s Rugby Team (now fondly referred to as the SheGulls). The founding team was coached by Jack Cotter and managed by Ben Clarke with Caro as captain.The girls managed to get other players from touch rugby & water polo and finally had enough for a team. Cottesloe Women's team made the grand final every year but finally won their first grand final in 1999.
The SheGulls have always been embraced by the club and fully supported by the Cottesloe family across all grades. When the Womens League played on a Sunday all the men would come to watch their games. It was a great time!
The SheGulls have a great history of State and National representatives. Cottesloe had 6 representives in the first state team in 1996 with Carolyn Cotter as captain. In 2008 Cottesloe had 11 girls in the state team and the recent 2016 team had 8.
The SheGulls have also had more Women represent Australia than any other club in WA including Debbie Carly (formerly Hodgkinson), Rebecca Clough and Natasha Haines.