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22 January, 2021

Kaiyla eyes the top

Kaiyla Ward is a tough, talented and very dedicated young rugby league player.

By Peter McCullagh

Since her early days as a twelve-year-old playing with and against girls more senior in age, Kaiyla has wanted to be the best and to succeed at the sport she loves.

Playing last year for the  North Queensland Gold Stars Kailya impressed not just her coach, but also the Northern Pride Pathways and Development Coach, David Scott.

After completing high school in November 2020, Kailya set her sights on taking the next step in pursuing a career in Rugby League.

She contacted TAFE Queensland about participating in the Cairns Academy of Sport program and after consultation with Northern Pride Pathways and Development Coach David Scott, her position was confirmed and signed.

Kaiyla’s training schedule will be modified so that she can participate safely in all components of the program however David Scott believes her skill level combined with her approach to training and the game, places her above many of the male players participating in the program.

 Kaiyla will also be studying a Certificate II in Engineering Pathways at TAFE Queensland.

 In addition to the CAS Program, Kailya will be a part of the Northern Pride Under 19s Women’s Team which will compete in the Harvey Norman U19s Women’s regional competition against the Mackay Cutters and Townsville Blackhawks. This team will be coached by NRL Lead Game Development Officer Alby Anderson.

For Kaiyla the opportunity to breakdown some barriers as well as pursue her sporting dream in Cairns have been strong motivators to join the program.

“I’m grateful for the opportunities that will open up for me and other girls here in Cairns along with the chance to pursue our dream here, rather than moving down south.

“We can get quality training and good qualifications locally, hopefully I can achieve my ultimate goals, NRLW representation and I will do anything I can to get up there,” added Kaiyla.

For many of Kaiyla’s friends and fellow players, this has been a topic of constant conversation. The desire to pursue their sport and also ensuring a strong education and vocational training program supporting their dreams and aspirations.

“Now that this is happening it will keep girls in the sport and training locally and growing the league locally.

The Northern Pride program is based upon a very successful program based in the United Kingdom and in particular Hull Football Club.

Northern Pride Pathways and Development Coach David Scott is confident this program will deliver results not just her but also through the Cape and could be duplicated in other areas. This is the first non-NRL based program that allows participants to train and study full time.

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