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Anita Hagarty - Touch Football Australia.

They say if you do something that you're passionate about then you'll never work a day in your life, and for Anita Hagarty this couldn't be any closer to the truth. 

Hagarty is the Chair of the Touch Football Australia board, bringing passion, leadership and a love affair for touch football with her to the job each day. 

It's a long involvement with the sport that has seen Hagarty excel, participating across a range of levels as a player, referee and coach, and still attending the National Touch League as a player for the North Queensland Cyclones. 

For over 30 years Hagarty has held various positions throughout the sport, including being a Board Member for Touch Football Australia since 2012, after previously holding a position on the Queensland Touch Football Board from 2009-2012.

Touch football is simply in her blood, with her first experiences starting with her father when she was a young girl.  

"Touch football is something that I started at a very young age. I probably started playing before touch was even considered a sport," Hagarty said.  

"My dad used to go down to the local racecourse and throw a ball around with a lot of his rugby league mates. This would take place over the offseason or even at training. 

"That then progressed to me playing school touch football, and then I started playing at my local association.

"This gave me the opportunity to play some representative games where I got to represent at a local, regional and state level. 

"I've basically played touch for over 30 years. It's been a long running love affair that I've had with the sport. 

"At an admin level, I became president of my local touch club when I was 21. This side of the sport has always been a keen interest of mine."

By becoming Chair of the Touch Football Australia board in 2015, Hagarty created history as the first female to hold the position. 

It's something not lost on the experienced businesswoman, but the ever-humble Hagarty told she was just doing her job.

"I haven't really thought about it too much because I just do what I need to do," she said. 

"I was lucky enough to be the first female board member for Queensland touch after 30 or 40 years of being dominated by males. 

"I got that opportunity which was great and now I'm at Touch Football Australia. 

"The importance of the role and the opportunity of the role I'm in now is not lost on me at all. 

"It's quite humbling to have this piece of history next to my name, but for me it's about making sure the sport is in good hands and has a bright future." 

Hagarty's work goes beyond the sport, partaking in extensive charity work with the Cure Starts Now Foundation – raising funds for childhood brain cancer. 

It's a testament to the person Hagarty is, and this is backed up by the CEO of Touch Football Australia, Colm Maguire.  

Maguire struggled to put into words how important Hagarty has been to the growth of touch football in Australia. 

"Her contribution to touch football has been unbelievable," Maguire said.  

"The amount of time that she gives to the sport at all levels is on another level. 

"Her commitment to getting across major issues and supporting her staff just speaks so highly of her leadership qualities. 

"Since she's taken the Chair position – she's just taken it to a new level. 

"She's accessible, dedicated, committed and always available whenever her input is needed on a key issue. Anita's been incredible for the sport." 

Touch football and rugby league continue to grow after an alliance between Touch Football Australia and the NRL occurred in late 2013.  

This partnership has seen touch football in Australia grow at a rapid rate and the NRL's Women in League Round looks to highlight the contributions of women in this expanding community. 

Hagarty is just one of many women in all areas of this rugby league community who are unsung heroes to those closest to them, and she heavily endorsed the Women in League Round and its importance.  

"This round is very important," Hagarty said. 

"There are a number of aspects of touch football that excel when it comes to female participation. 

"We have close to 233,000 girls and women playing touch football across Australia. 

"That's without taking into consideration the volunteers and the mums that drive their children to touch throughout the week. 

"Recognising these people is vitally important because they add so much to our organisation and our sport."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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