You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

If wins and premierships measure success, the Harden Hawkettes will struggle to find an equal in any competition in the ACT or NSW.

A juggernaut of the Blumers Lawyers George Tooke Shield (GTS) League Tag competition since its inception in 2014, the Hawkettes have qualified for eight of a possible nine Grand Finals, winning five in the process when lifting the trophy in 2016, 2018, 2019, 2022, and 2023.

Harden capped off another terrific season last year, losing just one regular-season game before defeating the Cootamundra Bullettes 10-nil in a thrilling Grand Final.

Coached by Jason Pollard and skippered by Emma James, the high-flying Hawkettes will boast a new-look squad when attempting to make it three premierships on the trot in 2024.

“We kept a few of our original players from last year, but we do have a lot of new players coming up from the juniors, which is great as well,” James said.

“I think there are probably six or seven of us that played last year still playing, and it’s important so we can keep that spine, but the goal now is to add in new players and see what they bring to the side.

“It will be a challenge, but it’s good for us, so when the time comes when some of us older players move on, there will still be that strong base of players in Harden.”

Harden’s captain admitted her Hawkettes have not had the best preseason.

The reigning premiers are set to visit Bungendore without a game under their belt when they take on the Tigerettes at Mick Sherd Oval on Saturday.

“This year is a bit the same as the previous year, and we haven't had a preseason game,” she said.

“It just didn’t work out with people on holidays. We couldn't get the numbers there to play a game, and when we could, we weren’t able to organise anyone to play against.

“With the first game coming up, it will be on the back of our own training. Still, we’re coming together now, and everyone is looking forward to Saturday.”

With Harden eyeing another premiership, James said there will be no shortage of rivals wanting to get one over the high-flying Hawkettes.

“We’ve always had that target on our back, especially coming off the back of another premiership, teams will want to beat us,” James said.

“For the girls, we just try to focus on our own game and take it game by game.

“All we need to do is play our style of game and not worry about the previous year or whatever other teams are doing.

“I think this year, we have a new-look team, and we’re looking forward to seeing what we can do.”

Cootamundra, Crookwell, and Bungendore appeared to close the gap in 2023, with the Hawkettes losing a rare match to the Bullettes during the regular season.

James is expecting some tough outings, and she said her outfit would be ready for their rivals.

“I haven’t heard too much of who is playing for different teams, but I do think Coota will be a team to beat,” James said.

“We played them in the Grand Final last year, and they had a lot of talent, so we’re looking forward to seeing their squad.

“Crookwell is another good side; they have a good mix of young girls and older heads, and they should be in for a good season, too.”

It will be an eight-team home and away GTS League Tag competition, and Round One promises some fireworks on Saturday.

Heavyweights Crookwell host the returning Binalong Brahmans at Memorial Oval, and the UC Stars will look to improve on last season, but they run into the strong Bullettes at Raiders Belconnen.

After getting bundled out in week one of the 2023 finals, North Canberra will have a chip on their shoulders when the Bears host the visiting Boorowa Roverettes at Kaleen.

Click here for the 2024 CRRL Blumers Lawyers GTS League Tag draw.

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.