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Girls at forefront of NRL digital revolution

It’s Women in League Round this weekend and it’s time we don the pink scarves and beanies to celebrate all the women who represent this great game we call rugby league.

This story might be a little different to the one you might have been used to seeing this week though. For I am not a mother, I am not a wife nor am I helping out in the canteen at the local footy club this Saturday morning.

I am simply a young female who has been lucky enough to have landed her dream job working in this great sport.

The emphasis on the WIL round focuses mostly on our mums who drove us to footy every Tuesday night for 10 years, or the wives who cook us our favourite meal the night before game day and the volunteers who selflessly give up their time week after week to make sure there’s hot pies and coffee being served at the canteen while we watch out future stars kick goals (literally and metaphorically).

I am the first to give every single one of these ladies a pat on the back for their efforts. However, I’m of a different breed and I don’t know what satisfaction comes from any of those acts. Maybe one day I will, but for now my focus lies solely with my computer and iphone.

Mine are slightly more technical (no really) as I push the social revolution online for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (formerly for the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles). I get excited about the little things, like how many people read that article on our website? How many people ‘liked’ that picture of Ben Barba I just posted on our Facebook page? And someone sending you a tweet simply saying “Thanks for the updates, I’m in London and can’t watch the game. Cheers @NRL_Bulldogs!”

Have you ever tried controlling a crazy crowd of 50,000 people on a social network after winning a grand final? Driving an online fan base to cheer on your team may not sound too hard, but I’d like to think it takes a special type of person. Needless to say there are numerous other girls in my job around the sport who also share that passion. We are great at holding conversations over the keyboard!

My passion for rugby league started at a young age when week after week I would travel with my family to the football and soak in the atmosphere of a live game and think to myself, wouldn’t it be great to become a part of this? (At that stage it was to be a cheerleader, but let’s not go into that just now.)

A passion for football and writing was all I needed and by the time I was 18 I had my first articles in magazines published nation-wide on stories on my one true love, rugby league.

A year later I had a full time gig at the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. My family were proud as punch. It was an awesome feeling. I felt so lucky to be a part of an organisation I had looked up to for so long and getting to do a job I loved.

Joining in the highs and lows of the season with a bunch of people who all feel the same is something that words cannot describe. The club becomes your family as you spend barely a day apart from March to October – and then a bit more (believe it or not the office is open during the offseason!)

We always focus on how the women involved in this sport “don’t do it for the recognition or the glory” but I’m going to be honest here, I disagree.

There’s no bigger satisfaction when someone you don’t know, who you meet for the first time tells you that you do an amazing job. When your boss, a premiership player from the glory days of 1973 tells you how proud they are of something you’ve just achieved. And although they may not understand “how this Twitter thing works”, they know you’ve been working hard and will give you a bear hug for your hard work. Or when a club legend walks in and asks if you’ve had your hair done. It’s the small things, really.

I would lose count of all the beautiful girls I know that work in this game if I tried. On and off the field we make the wheels turn. I would be so disappointed if anyone thought otherwise.

This weekend, like every other day, I put my hand up and say I am a proud woman in league.

Jessica Ivers is the digital coordinator at the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.

Follow Jessica on Twitter: @Jivebong

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