Damage Cat meets the Melbourne Minxes, Sunday, 21st February 2016

Melbourne Minxes

Melbourne MinxesThis is a very late blog and apologies to all concerned particularly to the Melbourne Minxes but the producer was struck down with a mystery illness which has just been diagnosed and treated so everything is back on song again.

Two members of team Damage Cat set off early on the Sunday morning in a very large red van to go to meet the Melbourne Minxes in Derby at their Friends and Family Day. To say it was a blustery day (good rugby weather) is an understatement and we were buffeted by the wind all the way up the M1 but my fellow director and camera man for the day kept a steady hand on the steering wheel.

We finally arrived around 2.00 pm and were warmly greeted by Nick Woodland who runs the Melbourne Minxes and Mini Minxes rugby club for young girls. Our visiting Derby was part of a mini documentary series following the rise of Women’s Rugby – we were meeting the Minxes to explore where it all starts and what motivates young girls to play rugby rather than taking up sports and past times more traditionally associated with younger females.

Certainly in the case of the Minxes the motivation soon became very clear – Nick Woodland, himself. We were very impressed with his absolute dedication to rugby but predominantly to the Minxes and the growth of girls’ rugby up in Derby. He spoke passionately about expanding the club, his various initiatives in the marketing of the club and his devotion to the girls who come and play from the smallest to the oldest was hugely evident. Encouraging young girls to take up a sport that is commonly associated with men is not easy and Nick spends a great deal of his time visiting the local schools to encourage young girls to come and learn to play a sport that not only teaches you about team spirit but gives you values that you can then take through life. His enthusiasm is inspirational and it was very clear to us that the girls love and respect him and all that he does for the club.

While my camera man was filming the girls at play, I got to speak to some of the parents who are equally as enthusiastic and dedicated, willing the sport on to greater recognition on the world stage. Many of them travel great distances so that their daughters can engage in this great sport and the parental support for the Melbourne Minxes was palpable.

The best bit of the afternoon was interviewing the girls themselves and finding out why they wanted to play rugby. A little shy of a burly camera man and the interviewer they soon opened up with some encouragement from parents and coaches. Many of them had joined because of the social aspect (and rugby is also a very social sport). They liked the feel of playing with their friends and being part of the rugby family but some were more focused on rising up through the ranks and hopefully, playing at international level. If you watch the video clip embedded in this blog you will hear directly from them. Mollie Chambers was particularly impressive and was very clearly on her way to pursuing her dream of a rugby career. Almost all without exception wanted to see the women’s game given more profile and a larger platform on the sporting stage.

So this is where it all starts folks, at grassroots level and without the dedication of Nick Woodland and other girl’s rugby coaches across the country, the women’s game will not get the recognition it deserves.

In closing, it was a fantastic afternoon spent with the Minxes, their coaches and parents and the camera man was grinning broadly as he walked in amongst the girls as they trained and played. Our thanks to Nick Woodland, all the coaches, parents and players for allowing us to film and interview the Melbourne Minxes.


Previous interviews and rugby footage can bee seen HERE

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