This month’s In A League Of Their Own award goes to 16-year-old Jo Dillion from Ipswich.
As well as playing Rugby League, Jo has been instrumental in setting up the girls team in her area and when she isn’t on the field playing league she is on there with her ref’s whistle.
A fan of the game (in particular Gorden Tallis) from as early as she can remember, Jo started to play Rugby League when she was 7
“I didn’t even know girls could play Rugby League until I took part in a Kids to Kangaroos clinic. I had so much fun and then joined a local club. I couldn’t wait to go to training and for Saturday to come around to play – I just loved it.”
As Jo’s under 12 season came to an end, she thought that would be it until she discovered a girls’ competition was starting on the Gold Coast.
“For a whole year we were travelling back and forth from Ipswich to the Gold Coast. During this time mum and I found out how they started their girls comp and used it to start a comp in Ipswich the next year. Three years on Ipswich has the biggest girls comp in Australia.”
It’s no surprise that Jo also volunteers her time to referee junior games as she comes from a family that loves their footy and volunteering their time.
“I enjoy refereeing as much as I enjoy playing Rugby league, I enjoy watching all the young players having fun and leaning more about the game every time they play,” she said.
“My mum and dad are highly involved in the game, my mum became a Level 2 trainer and manager over the years and is now coach for our team. My dad volunteer’s for the club and helps out game days.
My mum and dad are the ones that inspire me the most and have always encouraged me to do my best in everything.”
And what is Jo’s advice for anyone thinking about getting involved either by volunteering their time or by playing?
“If you would like to start playing, you can find a club nearby or play at school sports. Clubs will also help you become a referee and they always need people to help out, why not get your mum and dad to help too,” she said.
“My advice for anyone one wanting to start playing Rugby League would be just give it your all, work as a team with your teammates and just to enjoy yourself and have fun.”
At 16 Jo has already achieved a lot to be proud of but her dream since playing in Under 8’s is to play in the Woman’s QLD State Of Origin and for the Australian Woman’s team, the Jillaroos.