After his Blues side created history in the inaugural Under 19s Women's State of Origin match, coach Blake Cavallaro has his eyes firmly set on delivering a Premiership for the Sydney Roosters in the NRLW.
Having guided the Sydney Roosters' Indigenous Academy Under 19s side to the Tarsha Gale Cup Grand Final earlier in the year, in a turn of events, Cavallaro's Blues created history with a 16-12 victory against the Maroons in his first representative coaching appointment.
It was an experience which he says he will cherish forever, and one that taught him a number of coaching lessons.
“It didn’t hit me at first, but I think after 24 hours it sunk in when I held the shield again the next morning," Cavallaro proudly said of his side's victory.
“It’s a great achievement. Just speaking for myself to be a part of the women’s game and seeing the development of girls pathways evolve in NSW in such a small amount of time, it was awesome to see the girls be the first to win the NSW under 19s State of Origin and bring the shield home.
“The week taught me that the little things matter and that getting a group of girls to connect and bond was the main focus. It taught me about the little things that help you as a coach.
"Throughout the week getting to know each individual and their playing style and how they would adapt to the style of play I wanted them to execute was a great learning curve for me.
“We definitely took a lot of individual talent on board to make sure we executed the right game plan. I’m proud to represent this state and get the win. The experience was awesome.”
it’s really great to see a number of Roosters players come through the Club’s pathway system, and hopefully over the next few years we’ll see more at this level.Blake Cavallaro On the Club's development in the Women's game
With three members of his Tarsha Gale Cup side representing the Blues in Tayla Montgomery, Taneka Todhunter and Charlize Lloyd-Phillips, Cavallaro believes that it is just the beginning for Roosters representation in the Origin arena.
After all, there are a host of talented players in the Club's pathways system making themselves known, with the Central Coast Roosters claiming their second straight Minor Premiership with an undefeated season in the Harvey Norman Women's Premiership thus far in 2021.
“It was great having plenty of Roosters representation in the side," he said.
“I have a strong relationship with halfback Taylor Montgomery, and her job was to lead the team around the park. We bounced ideas off each other and I thought that worked really well.
“Taneka Todhunter definitely made an impact off the bench, and Charlize Lloyd-Phillips was really good on the wing, and make some really strong contributions which helped us get the win. Tayla and Charlize are both eligible to play next year which is really exciting.
“In saying that, it’s really great to see a number of Roosters players come through the Club’s pathway system, and hopefully over the next few years we’ll see more at this level.
“It’s always great to represent the Club and display how strong the female pathways have become. It’s been four years in the making in regards to the women’s game and we’re starting to see some really good players come through the system."
With representative football and the Tarsha Gale season now done and dusted, Cavallaro now has his sights set on the NRLW, which is set to kick-off on August 20 as he reprises his role under mentor John Strange in search of the Club's first NRLW title.
“I’ll be an assistant coach for the Roosters NRLW side under John Strange," Cavallaro confirmed.
“I’ll still be involved in the women’s pathways, and it is exciting to be a part of that elite environment again. We’ll see some of the younger players in the system get a chance to be part of the NRLW environment.
“It’s great working under Strangey. We work well with one another, and we both highly value the players and the women’s game. We’ve been there since the very start.
“He’s been very instrumental in my career and what I’ve been able to do. He’s taught me a lot about the little things, those one percenters and if you get that right, the women’s game will go a long way.
“We talk every day and we’re looking forward to seeing the next challenge for the Sydney Roosters, which is to take home the NRLW Premiership.
"It's only around the corner and I cannot wait."
More Women's Rugby League on Roosters.com.au