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The Celebrating Girls in Sport Festival was hosted yesterday by the Parramatta City Council’s Recreation unit, Wednesday 11 November, and aims to encourage and promote increased participation by girls in sport.

The Festival kicked off with the 120 high school girls from Parramatta High School, Maronite College of the Holy Family, Delany College - Granville and Arthur Phillip High School taking part in a Q&A that featured 2015 Parramatta District Junior Rugby League Referee of the Year Bianca Santi, and representatives from Hockey, AFL, Cycling and Rugby Union before skills and drills.

2015 has been a big year for Santi, who apart from claiming the 2015 Parramatta District Junior Rugby League Referee of the Year, has been busy refereeing in the park competition and Junior Representative competition.

“It has been very rewarding,” Santi said.

“I refereed in the Koori knock-out and ended up with the Grand Final there and I also ended up with the Women Tier B Grand Final for the Sydney Metropolitan Cup so that was pretty rewarding. “

“And like you said, I was awarded Referee of the Year so that was outstanding and phenomenal to get an awarded from the clubs rather than just the other referees.” Santi added.

“It was nice to have my achievements acknowledged by the clubs and it felt great.”\\

Celebrating Girls in Sport Festival Gallery

Away from refereeing, Santi is also closely involved in the game as a Recruitment and Retention officer, bringing more females into the game.

“The biggest thing I found is that I just made a lot of new friends and now as a Recruitment and Retention Officer, we are trying to bring more referees in especially females because we are trying to bring more female camaraderie in and try to make females more part of the game,” Santi said.

The theme of the day was celebrating female involvement in sport and Santi gave an insight into her biggest role model and how she hopes to follow her footsteps.

“My biggest role model would have to be Casey Badger. She has gone through all the ranks, through the junior reps and the graded squad and now she is one of two females in the NRL part time squad.” Santi said.

“She has gone through the ranks as one female, and I want to do the exact same thing and I want to follow in her footsteps and do exactly what she is doing in regards to training, going through the ranks as an only female.”

Santi was popular during the festival with many students interested in how they could get involved.

“The girls have been really positive about it all and I have had so many girls come up and ask about how to get involved as a ref, saying they referee touch football and Oztag but really want to get involved in rugby league.”

“They can call 1800 BE A REF and join a course and as a Recruitment and Retention officer, I will be there to support other females getting in to refereeing rugby league.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels 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.

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