New rooms a boost for women's rugby

GAME CHANGER: Newport Rugby club players Sarah Vuatu, 7, and Ashlee Green at Porter Reserve. Picture: Geoff Jones
GAME CHANGER: Newport Rugby club players Sarah Vuatu, 7, and Ashlee Green at Porter Reserve. Picture: Geoff Jones

Newport rugby winger Ashlee Green remembers how awkward she felt having to enter the club's Porter Reserve dressing-room before a game last season.

"I'd left my boots in the boys' change-room and I was too nervous to go in and get them in case the boys were in there," she recalled. "Before our games the girls would have to wait until all the boys were out of the change-rooms before we went in.

"The boys have been really supportive but it would still make us a little stressed and uncomfortable having to share."

Green's story would resonate with any female athlete forced to use amenities alongside the men. It's not a shot at the males but more an indication of how quickly women's sport is growing and the need for clubs to keep pace.

The forward-thinking Newport committee was already on the case and is well advanced with plans to build separate female change-room facilities complete with a new canteen, first-aid room, unisex toilet, covered barbecue area and wheelchair access.

The local community has chipped in $200,000 towards the build, with state and local government also contributing heavily.

Green calls it a game changer for women's rugby in the area.

"A massive reason Newport wants to go forward with these female change-rooms is so we can continue to grow female rugby within the community," she said. "Hopefully these new improvements at the club show how keen we are for females to come and join this amazing club."

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