RISING THROUGH THE RANKS: Stanthorpe girl Shanea Irwin has been selected to take part in the ARTIE academy in September.
RISING THROUGH THE RANKS: Stanthorpe girl Shanea Irwin has been selected to take part in the ARTIE academy in September. Contributed

Pathway opens up to Irwin

RUGBY LEAGUE: Arthur Beetson is one of rugby league's greats. The former Queensland rep and test player is also one of a growing list of icons for up and coming indigenous footy player's.

He might have passed away in 2011 but Beetson is still making a difference in the game posthumously.

The ARTIE (Achieving Results Through Indigenous Education) academy was founded in his name in 2010 and still continues to offer a pathway to young indigenous player's in an attempt to close the gap.

For the first time ever, in 2019, the academy has been opened up to women, with a Stanthorpe girl and former Gremlins junior making the cut.

Now plying her trade with the Goodna Eagles, Shanea Irwin left such an impression on scouts throughout this season that she was picked to participate.

"I didn't know any of the selectors had been there,” she said.

"It was a surprise. I got a phone call a week or two after a game in June about getting picked for it.

"We got all the information for it just the other day and I sat back and read it and was like 'woah'.

"I'd heard of the academy but this is the first time it has ever happened for girls.”

The selectors pick players for under 15s, as well as 17s, the latter of which Shanea falls in to.

Shanea Irwin during her days at Norths Tigers Rugby League Club.
Shanea Irwin during her days at Norths Tigers Rugby League Club. Inga Williams

"I haven't been playing in my normal position. I've been out on the wing but I normally play front row,” she said.

She's playing a high standard of footy with the under 18s first grade Eagles side in the South East Queensland comp.

"We have an information night next Saturday and then a three-day camp down at the Burleigh Heads Excellence Centre and then we have the Murri Carnival in October.

"It's going to be intense. Something I need though,” she said.

Shanea moved to Brisbane earlier this year for study and to progress her league career.

She has high aspirations of playing for Queensland and Australia down the track. She also wants to make her way up to the NRL in the next few years.

She's an avid Sydney Roosters supporter, following in her dad's footsteps.

She'll head to Burleigh for the camp on September 27.

"Things like this academy are very important for indigenous girls. People get to see what we can accomplish when we get the chance.”

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