2nd July 2018, 10:20 | champion_schools
Coach: Lee Carbutt
Squad: Caitlyn Hutchinson, Ellie Douds, Frances Fletcher, Ellie Hartgrove, Tyler Scowen, Beth Wilson, Brooke Wilkie, Ebony Leach, Livia Shanks, Alisha Nicholls, Grace Barratt, Gabrielle Hedley, Leah French, Casey Roper, Cleo Evans.
The North East may be better known as a hotbed of football, but over the last 10 years Astley Community High School has been flying the flag for Rugby League. And Lee Carbutt has been there every step of the way!
Lee first came to the North East as a development officer with the Rugby Football League and then went on to join the staff at Astley, which is a mixed 13-18 comprehensive school in Northumberland.
"Our girls started playing Rugby League in Year 7 at our two middle schools," explains Lee.
"They joined us in Year 9, continued to play and have progressed so much.
"We had a really good crack at it last year, losing in the semi final by a try and we’ve managed to make the final this year so its really good progress over the four years they’ve been playing Rugby League.
"We made it to the Champion Schools Finals in 2015 with our Year 10 Girls and have'’t been back since. I've always said that this group of girls could do it if they put their minds to it."
So what has made this group of girls so successful?
"It's a combination of everything," said Lee. "They have been a pleasure to work with. Ever since Year 7 we've had a bit of everything, two or three strong girls, there's a lot of speed in the squad and we've got a couple of players who are really smart but generally speaking it's their attitude, particularly this last year, they've really bought into everything we've been trying to do.
"They work hard at training, we constantly get 15/16 at every single session and there's the drive and desire they've had since losing in the semi-final last year.
"It's been an attitude thing really, there's definitely been a desire to want to get back to the final this year."
At the National Festival, things started to fall into place for the team according to Lee. "They are a pretty solid team and at the National Festival there wasn't one stand-out player who won us the game, we really are a team and I think everyone contributed in one way or another, every girl stepped up."