'TEST star flattens a group of men in a Wollongong pub'.
These days it reads like another unwanted headline, but for women's rugby league royalty Tarsha Gale, it was a creative way to fund a Jillaroos tour.
It illustrates the lengths players of her era had to go to given an Australian Test jumper wasn't just a jersey, but a bill for three grand, or thereabouts.
"Back then in 1995 I think it was $3000 just to have the honour of representing your country," Gale recalls.
"We had to fundraise, a lot of girls were selling their cars and things like that. We started doing meat raffles but I learned pretty quickly the blokes at the pub loved a schooner more than a meat tray so I'd go to publican and buy 10 beers and raffle off 10 beers instead.
"I was doing that and a bloke said 'you play tackle footy?' I told him yes and he said 'prove it, I'll buy 20 tickets if you can tackle my mate'. The first guy ran up at me like a 'girl' so it was pretty easy to put him on his bum. They loved it.
"Next thing they were saying 'do it to my mate, can you tackle Macca?' They started running a bit harder, but I still sold a lot of tickets that way."
It was all in good fun of course, though a few blokes went home relieved of the previously-held notion that women couldn't play rugby league. They forked over the cash too.
It was tough but, in a host of ways, Gale wouldn't change what began after she drifted south from Sydney to Bulli to play in the Illawarra women's league.
"I was a touch footy player and one of the coaches saw me playing touch and asked if I was interested in playing tackle, which of course I was," Gale said.
"I'd always had to tackle to play with my older brothers. There was a really good competition going down in the Illawarra, I found out it was probably the strongest. It was basically word of mouth but once I found out there was a tackle competition going on I was all over it.
"I went to the Bulli Eagles and was really embraced by the girls there, that was in 1995. I was based in Sydney so I actually moved down there for rugby league, I ended up buying a house in Figtree.
"There was some real talent in that team. Coming into my first year of rugby league it was really good to be surrounded by a group of strong women who knew what they were on about and took their footy really seriously."
'Real talent' probably undersells it a tad. Bulli, going by the name 'The Cabbage Tree Eagles' in honour of their major sponsor, attracted attention.
In fact, when Sunday Telegraph scribe Brian Surtees ran a two-page spread dubbing them 'The Unbeatables' Gale had some explaining to do to her parents.
"Mum and Dad thought I was still playing tennis and netball when I was actually in the Illawarra with the mighty Cabbage Tree Eagles," she said.
"A journo came to our training and next thing I know it was in the Sunday Telegraph and there's my big head in about five or six colour shots. I quickly rang Dad and he said 'yes darling, your mother's seen it'. It was out of the bag then but I was fully supported by my parents after the shock.
"Mum was a rugby league coach herself. The first game she watched me play it was the Steel City Challenge against Newcastle. At halftime she jumped the fence and told me I was feeding the scrum the wrong way, I should always walk around the other way so the last people to see me were my forwards, not theirs."
The 'Unbeatables' tag wasn't all that hyperbolic. The Eagles were dominant enough to get four players selected in the Australian team for the first ever Trans-Tasman Test.
The Aussies were skippered by Natalie Dwyer, who combined with club teammates Gale, Sherilee Moulds and Julie McGuffie for all of Australia's points in what was ultimately an 18-14 loss to the Kiwis.
"I'd have that year over and over again," Gale says.
"The Cabbage Tree sponsored us and gee I have some fond memories there. We'd be back there after every game for some tall tales and probably taller beers.
"We were really fortunate to be with a group of really talented girls and we had some convincing wins. We ended up representing Illawarra at the nationals then a good chunk of us made the first ever Jillaroos team.
"It all happened so quickly and they were just great, great times."
Thankfully, today's stars don't need to go tackling blokes in pubs to fund careers - though they could. The NRLW is about to kickoff its third season - allaying fears the COVID 19 pandemic could see it go uncontested - while the women's State of Origin has won rave reviews the past two seasons.
The pathways, training and professionalism have come along in exponential leaps and bounds. That alone doesn't explain why fans are so taken with the women's game, but Gale can hazard a guess.
"The women's game is so pure, that's what I love about it," she said.
"You can see the technique and the skill, the fitness level has gone through the roof, the women's State of Origin is one of the best games you'll ever get to see.
"It's great to watch, but it's just so pure, the girls are so grateful for every minute they get out on the playing field."
At a time when the men's and women's rugby league is drifting closer together in almost every facet, the sense of gratitude remains a stark contrast. The women's game is certainly richer for it.
It was the same back in Gale's time, a time where the women's national team were selling cars and raffle tickets as the men haggled over how many numbers came after $1 million during the Super League war.
The NRL is this week celebrating Women in League Round. Speak to a Kezie Apps, a Sam Bremner, a Keeley Davis, you'll find they're not just students of the game, but students of history - their history.
"I'm always gobsmacked at the amount of respect the current players give us," Gale said.
"It's a great culture. We do jersey presentations, motivational talks in the sheds and you've just got their full attention, they're so respectful.
"It's nice that these girls bother to hear what I have to say, it still amazes me really."