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Young First Nations player working towards representing her culture and country at the highest level


Growing up as an Indigenous kid in a small town in regional NSW, there were limited opportunities for 14-year-old Jayla Suey to play sports and there were even fewer ball sports for girls of any age. As someone who was always naturally sporty, when the chance to play rugby with her local club came up the student from McCarthy Catholic College in Tamworth jumped at the offer.

During her first season, she was lucky enough to meet and have a team dinner with Rhiannon Byers from the Australian Women’s 7s team. Watching another Indigenous player like Rhiannon and seeing her represent her culture and country the way she does gave Jayla the inspiration to take her game to the next level.

She went on to help the Gunnedah Red Devils win their first premiership in many years, where she was also named the best forward of the season, as well as being picked for the representative side for the Central North.

Jayla is one of the players selected to be part of the 2023 Edstart Rugby Scholarship Program, which continues our efforts to support grassroots rugby and provide them with development opportunities.

Recognising exceptional talent across the state

Now in its fourth year, players are selected for the program based on a range of criteria including their passion for rugby, commitment to the game, and other personal circumstances. It also recognises the exceptional talent of up and coming players working towards being the next crop of Waratahs.

One exciting talent in this year’s program is Toby Flytogiannis from York Public School in Penrith. He had a dominant year in 2022 where he was the top try scorer for the Blue Mountains Blue Tongues under-12s team and was awarded ‘Best and Fairest’ for both his club and the Penrith District Rugby representative team.


Katahra Boyle-Raniga from St Michael’s Catholic Primary School in Daceyville is another player making a name with her talent and enthusiasm. She’s an outstanding rugby player for the Coogee Seahorses in the Division 1 competition playing alongside boys and was chosen to represent the under-11s Randwick Rugby team in 2022. She also plays Rugby 7s for the Randwick Magic where she helped them win the State Cup. Katahra’s love of rugby is growing and wants to one day play rugby at the elite level.


Developing leadership skills on and off the field

The scholarship program is also helping develop future leaders on and off the field.

George McMenamin-Phillips of the Randwick Warriors is proof that rugby is more than just a game. With experience as a team captain, he’s built up his confidence and respect as a leader which has helped him transition into Matraville High School. These transferable leadership, commitment, and communication qualities he developed from rugby were the reason his Year Advisor flagged him to be part of the school representative council.

2023 scholarship players

  • Adam Price - Lennox Head Trojans - Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School
  • Amelia Topper - Casuarina Beach Rugby Club - Bogangar Public School
  • Aurora Farrelly - Forbes Rugby Union Club - Forbes High School
  • Cade Chapman - Kiama Junior Rugby Club - St Gregory's College Campbelltown
  • Cash Parry - Clovelly Eagles JRFC - Waverley College
  • George McMenamin-Phillips - Randwick Warriors - Matraville Sports High School
  • Grace Kellahan - KWP Rugby Union Club & Northern Wildcats - Loreto Normanhurst
  • Jayden Hemara - Norwest Junior Rugby Club - St John XXIII Catholic College
  • Jayla Suey - Gunnedah Junior Red Devils - McCarthy Catholic College Tamworth
  • Katahra Boyle-Raniga - Coogee Seahorses JRUFC - St Michael’s Catholic Primary School Daceyville
  • Leo McTiernan - Dubbo Junior Roos - Dubbo College, Delroy Campus
  • Natalie Granger - Randwick Magic Juniors - St Scholastica's College
  • Niall Jaffrey - St Ives Junior Rugby - St Pius X College, Chatswood
  • Phoenix Johns - Kiama Junior Rugby - Kiama High School
  • Reuben Morgan - Burraneer Junior Rugby Club - Woolooware High School
  • Tom Mison - Casuarina Beach Rugby Club - Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School
  • Tom Pendleton - Clovelly Eagles JRFC - St Charles Catholic Primary School Waverley
  • Toby Ftynogiannis - Blue Mountains Blue Tongues - York Public School
  • William Drury - Mudgee Rugby Union Club - All Hallows Catholic Primary School Gulgong
  • Xavier Parris - Tamworth District Junior Rugby Union Club - St Nicholas Primary School, Tamworth

We’re excited to back these remarkable young athletes as they pursue their passion for rugby and continue their development this season.

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