1 August 2023

Griffith junior rugby star accepted into elite Canberra sports program

| Oliver Jacques
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Reece with her mum and sister outside

Reese Vidler (middle) with mum and coach Jacklyn Vidler and sister Addison. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

After captaining her school to a Riverina rugby union championship, playing as the only girl in a boys team and winning selection to an ACT Brumbies feeder squad, Murrumbidgee Regional High School’s Reese Vidler has now been accepted into Erindale College’s talented sports program in Canberra.

The Tuggeranong-based school is known for producing a number of Wallaby internationals and NRL stars, such as Canberra Raiders winger Michael Asomua, also from Griffith. Its longstanding program for Year 10, 11 and 12 students is designed to provide elite young athletes with the best chance to pursue excellence in their chosen sport, while also maintaining their academic studies.

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Reese’s mum Jacklyn, herself a rugby player who coaches her daughter’s school team, was thrilled at the news.

“We tried to look at what schools or what scholarships she could do to progress her rugby career,” she said. “Erindale was the one that kept popping up. Some people involved in the Brumbies mentioned the program as the most beneficial … it’ll open up some pathways to pursue a career in football.”

Reese, a playmaker who models her style of play on Wallabies halfback Nic White, was one of just 10 students accepted into the program across NSW and ACT. She’ll move to Canberra next year by herself and do Year 11 at the popular college.

Her success capped off a dream past 12 months in the sport she loves. In June, she captained her school as it won an Under 16s Riverina Gala day Combined High Schools tournament, beating teams from Yanco and Leeton.

“That means we are now Riverina champions. In September, we go to Sydney to play for the state championship,” Reese said.

A groups shot of a girls rugby team

The Riverina champion MHRS girls team, featuring mum and daughter. Photo: MHRS/Facebook.

She also plays for the Griffith Blacks junior rugby team, and has been selected for the Under 16 Brumbies Country girls team, a feeder team for the ACT Brumbies. Her sister Addison is also a keen rugby player who has won selection for the Under 14 Brumbies Country squad.

“The girls started playing a form of touch rugby when they were little. It was non-contact but rugby union rules, you had to touch with two hands then turn and play the ball. You could also kick, that’s how they got good at kicking,” Jacklyn said.

There were times when Reese had no girls teams in which she could play. But that didn’t stop her.

“In Year 7, they didn’t have enough for a girls team so I played in the boys team. It was nice to beat the boys and score tries.”

Reece Vidler playing rugby and passing the ball

Reese Vidler models her style of play on Wallabies’ star Nic White. Photo: Supplied.

Jacklyn said: “Usually, they shove the girls on the wing. But they started her off on the wing and they quickly moved her to halfback because she showed talent.”

Previous generations of the family were more into rugby league, a sport Reese also plays. But she’s in no doubt when asked which is the better code.

“I prefer union to league. There’s more teamwork. In league, you just grab the ball and run. Union is more interesting and unpredictable, there’s no six and change over.”

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Reese’s ultimate goal is to play for the Wallaroos, Australia’s representative women’s rugby team. But she hasn’t forgotten who put on her on the right track.

“I want to thank my mum, she’s a great coach, and my dad for driving me around everywhere on weekends.”

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