I know I'm not the first to say it and hopefully I won't be the last, but the return of women's rugby to Northland has been well overdue.
It's great to a see a variety of competitions which started up last weekend, with a decent crop of teams ready to commit themselves to the rules and regulations which come with a formal rugby season.
There will be many people in the rugby community with more knowledge than I, stalwarts of the women's game who remember when a formal, union-run competition was in existence. Northland Rugby tells me it's been at least five years since then and what a waste of five years that was.
In saying that, the specifics of consistently running a competition which can struggle heavily in numbers from week to week is not something I'm very familiar with. You'd have to assume it's not as easy as simply setting the time and the place, and more likely, something to be put in the 'too hard' basket.
But the fact that Northland can pull together 16 teams across three different competitions (premier, under-18 and under-15) speaks to the obvious want in the women's rugby community to get back out on to the park.
It's hard not to think of how much talent and development we have let slip through our fingers in those few years where our female sporting stars had to look elsewhere to pursue our national game.
But now is not the time for cynical reflection. Now is the time for hopeful anticipation.
The results over the past few years of our age-group touch and sevens sides should be enough to get people excited for the future of the game. Consistent success on the national stage in both disciplines is the foundation on what these competitions have been built.
Now it's up to the players, coaches, officials, clubs and Northland Rugby to make sure we can ensure a sustainable and profitable women's rugby programme will persist in the years to come.
With a berth in this year's domestic women's rugby competition, the Farah Palmer Cup, these few months of play are essential in putting Northland's best foot forward on the national stage.
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I have no doubt we will see the next Portia Woodman in these competitions. This person might not have even played rugby before but if you put the opportunity out there to play, natural talent and pure determination will see Northland's rugby prospects shine through.
Northland's potential for individual success is not the only opportunity these competitions provide. With the start of the season last weekend, everyone from the players to the union have a chance to set the tone and behaviour standards in women's rugby in Northland.
We all know that verbal abuse on and off the field from players and spectators is an issue in men's rugby. Northland is no exception and it doesn't take long to hear a foul comment standing on the sideline these days.
I hope women's rugby in Northland can be different. I hope it can be a place where children and teenagers don't have to see their parents, siblings or cousins mouthing off at the assistant referee standing just metres away.
It may be too much to ask but I'm hoping with the evolution of the game in recent times, we might see a cleaner and more enjoyable style of rugby. Even if the guys haven't taken it on board, let them learn from the girls, let it be a turning point for Northland's rugby culture.
This weekend's women's rugby fixtures.-
Horahora vs OB Marist in Horahora at 2.15pm today
Dargaville vs City RFC in Dargaville at 12.30pm tomorrow
Te Rarawa vs Kaikohe in Te Rarawa at 1pm tomorrow
Kamo Hawks BYE
Wellsford vs Kerikeri in Mangakahia at 5pm on Monday
Western Sharks vs Northland College in Mangakahia at 6pm on Monday
City RFC vs Te Rarawa in Otangarei at 11am tomorrow
Kaikohe vs Kerikeri in Kaikohe at 6pm on Monday