My first memory of rugby league was watching the 1990 grand final between the Raiders and the Panthers with my Dad, Pop, and cousins. Being the first girl born into the 'Browning' side of my family in three generations I quickly developed a love for sport. During the Sydney Olympics I decided I wanted to become a sports reporter and from there I went on to study a double degree at Charles Sturt University.
Since then I have covered stories from Group 10 to City v Country, State of Origin to the NRL Grand Final. I spent three seasons covering the Raiders in Canberra for the ABC. Alongside me was another budding young female sports reporter Erin Molan, who now works for Channel 9.
Working in a one team town I was able to create a rapport with the players and coaching staff, but with that also came the task of having to cover several controversies that hit the club.
Since moving to Sydney last year I have been amazed with how many female reporters there are covering rugby league and are involved at club and management levels. Press conferences are neutral territory and there isn't an us and them mentality with my male colleagues.
No longer are there any barriers when covering post match press conferences in dressing rooms like our colleagues had to overcome in previous years. We owe a lot to the 'trail blazers' Deb Spillane, Jacquelin Magnay, Bec Wilson, Nicole Jeffery and more who helped level the playing field.
Last month I got to have lunch with more than 20 female rugby league reporters and former ARLC Chief Executive David Gallop. It was a great chance for us to all catch up and celebrate the role we play in the game. This weekend the NRL will turn pink for the annual Women in League round.
The initiative has grown tremendously since its introduction six years ago and is a chance to pay tribute to all the women involved in rugby league. From the Mums who car pool, volunteer in the canteen and stand on the sidelines cheering week after week, to the wives and partners of players, right up to administrators and management, women play a significant role in the game and I'm proud to be a part of it.
Jen Browning is a sports reporter with ABC
Remember you can access all the team lists, live scores and stats from the Women in League Round on your mobile. Visit m.nrl.com on your mobile device, or download the free updated 2012 Official NRL iPhone App (where there’s live streaming radio available too).