GROWING up with five brothers, Bonnie Gillespie was accustomed to the rough and tumble of contact sports.
She followed her brothers and played rugby, which she said was good preparation for her new pursuit: gridiron football.
‘‘I had a good friend tell me about this gridiron league they were starting, and I thought it would be good to throw a ball around and kick some butt,’’ the 25-year-old Woodcroft resident said.
Gillespie and Seven Hills resident Rosemary Wilson, 28, are training for the NSW team in the national Legends Football League to be launched later this year.
The league was originally branded as a full-contact American football league played by women in lingerie.
But when that plan was branded heavily as sexist, the league rebranded and will be played in more suitable attire.
None of that was a problem for Gillespie or Wilson, nor was the physicality of the sport.
‘‘I’ve got five brothers and grew up with contact sports,’’ Gillespie said.
‘‘I was always fascinated by strong people and started working out in gyms.
‘‘I just put my heart into it, and it’s who I am.’’
But the contact has been a new experience for Wilson who has represented Sydney in touch football and volleyball.
‘‘It’s a challenge,’’ she said, ‘‘but I don’t mind the physical nature of it, it gives you more of an adrenaline rush.’’
Coach of the state team is Teren Tan, who has himself represented in the NSW Gridiron Football League.
He has his squad of 30 girls on a program of three days weight lifting a week, running and a four hour team session every Sunday.
‘‘You would be surprised at the athleticism of all these girls,’’ he said.
‘‘Yes they look pretty but they’re also strong, fast and athletic.’’
The NSW Legends Football League team will play in a national competition against Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.
There will be an open trial for the squad at Sir Thomas Mitchell Reserve, Dundas, on March 10.