14 August 2023

Proud Tiger reaches 150-game milestone

| Michael Murphy
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stephen and monique luff

Stephen and Monique Luff prior to Monique’s 150th game. Photo: Supplied.

Gundagai’s Monique Luff ran onto Anzac Park on Sunday (13 August) to take part in her 150th league tag game for her beloved Gundagai Tigers.

A 2009 founding member of the Gundagai league tag side, Luff was an integral part of the 2015 premiership team. It was a memorable day that also saw the Group 9 club win grand finals in first and reserve grade.

The 28-year-old described last Sunday’s special occasion as a moment where she could appreciate the role that family, community, players and the club have played in her long journey.

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To add to the day, Monique was presented with a jersey prior to the match by her 1983 premiership-winning father, Stephen Luff.

“Without any disrespect, playing the 150th game didn’t change anything for me today,” she said.

“I’m so proud to play for the Tigers, and that respect came after playing for other clubs outside of Group 9 and getting the perspective of how great this small community is. Anzac Park and our supporters make each game amazing, and I love playing there.”

“The last 50 games have seen me travelling from Sydney, with my partner Royce (Tout), and I am very grateful to my coaches and teammates for their support.”

Luff, who works for the Heart Foundation, has an impressive list of achievements as a local sportswoman.

monique luff playing for cronulla sharks

Monique Luff with the Cronulla Sharks NRLW in 2017. Photo: Supplied.

The Group 9/Riverina league tag representative was also selected in the 2022 NSW merit side, while a premiership in Group 10 with the Bathurst Panthers during her university days only scratches the surface of Luff’s accomplishments.

In 2017, she was selected for the Cronulla Sharks National Rugby League Women’s (NRLW) team.

Lining up alongside such notable players as Ruan Sims and current NRL commentator Allana Ferguson, Luff played a handful of games before a knee injury eventually saw her return to league tag, and a premiership with Group 7 club Jamberoo.

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Since those notable achievements, the Gundagai Tiger player, who also doubles as a committee member, has won three consecutive Peter Britt Memorial (best and fairest) awards.

It is something, on top of her 150-game milestone, that makes her mum, Megan Luff, very proud.

“The 150-games is certainly a significant milestone, and we are very proud,” Megan said.

“A premiership, three Peter Britt Memorial trophies in a row and 150 games: her contribution to the club with the girls’ team will take a lot to trump. Monique’s stint with the Cronulla Sharks was also a highlight for both her and us.”

lizzie britt presenting monique luff with award

In 2020, the late Lizzie Britt presented Monique Luff with the first of three Peter Britt Memorial awards. Photo: Supplied.

Luff’s family have played a big role in her sporting life. After starting off in netball, she followed her older brothers, Jake and Dan, by playing rugby league in the juniors, with the transition into the Tiger’s senior club as a young teenager being made that little bit easier by having her big brothers around.

In recent times, the travel to and from Sydney to help a Tigers league tag side that is going through a rebuilding phase is a testament to the dedication shown by Luff towards the Gundagai club.

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Reflecting on what she has achieved, and what she has learnt, it is that sense of comradery that remains important; the link between players that has provided her with such enjoyment in the past, and motivates her to give something back for the future.

“2015 was special, not just because we won the grand final as underdogs, but that year was the most chemistry I’ve had in a side, to the point we’re all best mates, still,” Luff said.

“Both of my brothers also won in 2015, and it was such a special day for the club, but as a player I still want to learn. I definitely took some coaches for granted and at the ripe age of 28, I still want to be coached.”

“I also see this as an opportunity to enjoy tag, and give an example to never stop learning and improving to younger players.”

monique luff playing for gundagai tigers

Monique Luff is both a player and a committee member for the Gundagai Tigers. Photo: Supplied.

Steve Rose is the current Gundagai league tag coach. As a former player, long-standing committeeman and former president, he has seen a lot at the Tigers and is in awe of Monique and Royce’s commitment to the club.

“As a player, Monique sacrifices a lot for the team, and is one of our better performers week in and week out,” Rose said.

“She has had some serious injuries over the years, so to achieve what she has is one thing, but the way in which has done it in recent years, by travelling from Sydney with Royce, is amazing.”

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