Girls to set pace

Queanbeyan Whites women players Stephanie Stewart-Jones, Nikki Stanley and Rebecca Maher are excited to hit the paddock at Campese Field once again in round one of the women's division. Photo: Joshua Matic.

Queanbeyan Whites women players Stephanie Stewart-Jones, Nikki Stanley and Rebecca Maher are excited to hit the paddock at Campese Field once again in round one of the women's division. Photo: Joshua Matic.

THE Queanbeyan Whites women's team is all set to kick off their ACT Women's Division campaign against ADFA in a re-scheduled clash.

The fixture has been moved from this Saturday, and will likely be played under lights at Campese Field next Thursday evening.

They will be out to defend their crown of 2013 which they won as part of one of Queanbeyan's most successful seasons in rugby union where the club took four of a possible six premierships.

And despite the losses of a coach, a couple of key forwards and not having a permanent skipper so far this season, senior player and ACT representative Rebecca Maher believes they can still set the benchmark in the competition.

"We had a few injuries at the start of the season which isn't ideal, and we've lost a couple of players from last year, but everyone's starting to get back into it and in the first game hopefully we can blow out some cobwebs," she said.

There is little reason why they could not, boasting ACT stars in Nikki Stanley, Shellie Millward, Carly Hill, Kelly Goodwin, Stephanie Stewart-Jones and Maher herself.

They lost coach and local rugby legend Ron Giteau this season to retirement, as well as Wallabies legend Matt Giteau's sister Kristy. Adding to this they will be without forwards Megan Ayres and Jaylene Chevalier this season.

Millward is currently with the Australian Wallaroos squad preparing for the Tri-Nations tournament with New Zealand and Canada in New Zealand, and will return to the Whites after this in June before she heads to Paris for the Women's World Cup.

"She's one of our key players, especially to have in the forwards, so she'll be a massive boost when we get her back," said Maher.

The women re-grouped in February when they played in a Queanbeyan-only women's sevens competition, before warming up in a sevens and 10-a-side round-robin tournament with the other ACT clubs.

They took out the sevens before losing out in the tens.

Before Millward's return, Stewart Jones will lead the forward pack, while 18-year old Leticia Jeffries will step up from injury last season in the backline.

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