Opportunity and growth for women the key for Westfund Ferguson Cup’s namesake

THE NAMESAKE: Amanda Ferguson proudly shows off Central West Rugby Union's brand new Westfund Amanda Ferguson Cup. Photo: JUDE KEOGH
THE NAMESAKE: Amanda Ferguson proudly shows off Central West Rugby Union's brand new Westfund Amanda Ferguson Cup. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

The chance to win a trophy named after yourself is pretty rare, but that’s exactly what Orange Emus, Central West and NSW Country stalwart Amanda Ferguson has this year in Central West Rugby Union’s new-look women’s competition.

Ferguson has been involved with rugby as a player, a coach and an administrator since she found the game in high school and, in particular, has always focused specifically on promoting the women’s game.

As a result, the former Wallaroos train-on squad member has received the “absolute honour” of having this year’s women’s league, in which last year’s Blowes Clothing Cup and GrainCorp Cup have been combined, named in recognition of her efforts.

Starting in Saturday’s opening round, her Orange Emus and the competition’s 10 other title contenders will compete for the Westfund Amanda Ferguson Cup.

“I would never, ever have expected this, I’m pretty speechless,” a beaming Ferguson said at the competition’s launch on Wednesday morning.

“It’s an absolute honour. I’m chuffed. At Emus we’ve got a lot of new girls so I’m only playing to try and help them develop, and pass my passion on, but I guess winning the trophy would be interesting.

“Moving to 11 teams, we’ll get regular games and tough competition. It’s a great step for growth as individuals, teams and then for the competition itself.

“We just don’t know what we’ll come up against, no team can be taken for granted you know, there’s a sense of unknown about it which makes it more exciting.

“Obviously Bathurst Bulldogs won the Blowes Clothing Cup last year and West Wyalong were always really strong and consistent in the GrainCorp Cup, so they’ll be tough to beat and probably have a point to prove, they’ll want to stamp their authority on the new competition.”

That continued growth of the women’s game is what excites Ferguson the most, with Central West’s bumper league becoming another stepping stone on the path to the top just like this season’s inaugural Super W competition has at the elite level.

“With the amazing, exciting opportunities women have in the game now, well, I wish I was 20 years younger,” Ferguson laughed.

“It’s just so exciting. I can’t encourage people more to get involved, just get involved and try it. You know, with the success we’ve had at sevens and the Wallaroos doing well at the World Cup too, there’s a lot of interest around the women’s game and that’s great.”

The 2018 Westfund Amanda Ferguson Cup kicks off on Saturday, Bulldogs host Cowra, Orange City hosts CSU Bathurst, Cootamundra hosts Temora, Dubbo Rhinos and West Wyalong face-off in Parkes while Ferguson’s Emus travel to Grenfell to play Harden.