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NRL Mailbox: the role of women in the game

NRL Wed, Jun 08, 2011 - 10:08 AM

Round 16 will be Women in League round Copyright: Action Photographics

In the lead-up to the annual Harvey Norman Women in League Round (Round 16, June 24-27), we thought we’d highlight just some of the ways females are involved in our game…

On the field, women and girls represent the largest single area of growth in national participation rates in Rugby League. In 2010, a surge in female playing numbers saw 5,490 women and girls play in regular competitions that year (up 12% on 2009) and 750,000 girls take part in school programs, up a staggering 52%.

There are even all-girls junior teams taking on the boys in traditional competitions, such as the Kellyville Princesses from the Kellyville Bushrangers, last year’s One Community Grassroots Club of the Year.

Over the last two years there has also been a 10,000-strong increase in the number of female volunteers, officials, referees and administrators offering their time to grass-roots Rugby League every week, with 50,000 women now involved in these roles at the heart of the game.

With the support of the Australian Sports Commission, the ARL Development ranks also now include development officers dedicated to growing female participation and keeping pace with the record number of girls and women joining Rugby League.

The number of women in senior management positions across the 16 NRL Clubs has also grown to more than 65, with the number of women on NRL Club boards also growing to 10 (up from two in 2009).

Other stats across the game that you may not be aware of include:

1301 female coaches

876 female qualified referees

3021 females qualified first aid officers

18 female presidents

20 female vice presidents

135 female secretaries

124 female treasurers

104 female registrars

64 female social committee members

In recognition of all these women who are not only fans of Rugby League but who tirelessly give their time in support of the game, Rugby League will this month hold a series of activities and events to celebrate its Harvey Norman Women in League program, culminating in the Telstra Premiership’s annual Harvey Norman Women in League Round itself (Round 16).

In the lead up to this special round, the month of June will see more than 600 women from across the game and the nation attend a series of events to celebrate the role of women in Rugby League, from Noosa (June 8) and Bowral (June 14) to Sydney (June 21) and, for the first time, Perth (June 23).

Harvey Norman Women in League will also see funds being raised for Rugby League One Community’s official Women in League charity partner, the McGrath Foundation, with the aim of exceeding last year’s figure of $120,000 raised.

Updates on Harvey Norman Women in League activities and events will be available across the month of June at www.rloc.com.au.