Pirates captain carries Sun Coast hope

By HAYLEY POINTON

LOCAL talent Kelli Dunlop has been selected to represent the region in the Central Crows emerging women’s team this weekend in Mackay.

Dunlop donning her black and gold colours at the recent 47th Battalion carnival
Photo: Supplied

Dunlop, 26, will travel to Mackay this Friday to join team mates from around the region including Rockhampton, Gladstone, Western Downs and Central Highlands at the Harvey Norman Queensland Country and Emerging trials.

“I’m the only one from the Sunshine Coast who made the emerging team,” Dunlop said.

“We get there on the Friday and will probably have our first training session together that day and then play.”

Dunlop said her ultimate goals included being picked in the Queensland country and Women’s State of Origin teams.

Dunlop, who recently represented the Sunshine Coast at the 47th Battalion carnival, said she enjoyed playing with the best girls from the coast and is looking forward to playing a higher level of football.

“It was really good, and I definitely learnt a lot; it’s definitely a step up from our level of football,” Dunlop said.

“A few of the girls play in the Brissy comp so I learnt a lot from them and it’s good to play at a higher level.”

This representative form has come off the back of an epic start to the footy season, with Dunlop captaining local league team the Noosa Pirates.

“We won our first game and we beat Nambour in our trial game,” Dunlop said.

Dunlop, who has played all four rounds for the Pirates, is coming second on the leading try scoring ladder with five tries for the season.

But not only does Dunlop play in the league competition, she also pulls on her boots in the local rugby union competition for the Noosa Dolphins.

This is Dunlop’s second year playing in the women’s 12-a-side rugby union competition for Noosa, who are the defending champions.

“The Dolphins are going really well, we’ve only had the one loss to Caboolture so far,” Dunlop said.

As for the representative road of rugby union, Dunlop made the Sunshine Coast Stingrays 7s team in 2018 and will be trialling for that again this year.

Dunlop’s weekends are usually very footy orientated, balancing her own sporting commitments as well as taking her six-year-old son to his games.

And when it comes to training she splits up her time to make it to both.

“I do one each, so I generally go to league on Tuesday and then union on Thursday and on the weekend sometimes I usually have to back games up, like go from one to the other on a Saturday otherwise sometimes they are Saturday and Sunday games,” Dunlop said.

Dunlop has always been a rugby league fan as long as she can remember, playing her very first game back at school.

However, since joining the Dolphins she said she has come to love rugby union.

“I really enjoy playing union now; there are so many rules to get but I love it,” she said.

“Now that I understand the rules, I love that you can steal the ball at any time.

“I love them both and it will be hard to give one away.”

But when it comes down to deciding on which sport her heart lies with, it’s an easy decision for her.

“I would choose league over union,” she said. “I’m more dedicated to league; I’ve always loved it.”

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