NSW centre Isabelle Kelly.

Women in League round a chance to look back on how far things have come

If you'd asked a young fan to define "Women in League" about 20 years ago, you'd probably be hearing about Tina Turner singing from atop Sydney Harbour Bridge and Elle McPherson running along a beach with Andrew Ettingshausen and his Cronulla team-mates.

How times have changed.

The annual celebration of Harvey Norman Women In League Round is a great reminder of how far our game has come.

It's a chance for clubs and the game as a whole to promote the great work and increasing influence that women have on rugby league, both on and off the field, while also continuing to expand and develop the women's game within their own ranks and the local community.

While the round typically sees a number of unique jerseys, initiatives, charity causes and stories posted throughout the media, in 2018 it takes on significance like never before.

None who were there and few who witnessed the broadcast will forget the importance – and quality – of the Holden Women's State of Origin clash earlier this season and the thrilling climax that decided it, but that excitement was just a small taste of what is still to come in 2018.

Since their respective club launches last week we've entered the official countdown to the NRL Holden Women's Premiership season, kicking off in conjunction with the Telstra Premiership finals series – but the action begins this weekend with the respective grand finals to the NSW and South East Queensland women's premierships taking place.

In Sydney, minor premiers South Sydney will face Mounties in a replay of their week one finals clash ahead of the Rabbitohs-Roosters NRL clash. In Queensland, Burleigh and West Brisbane Panthers will do battle before the Titans' NRL clash against Penrith at Cbus Super Stadium.

If you're heading to either of these games, arrive an hour early and enjoy the action.

In the coming weeks we'll hear more and more wonderful narratives coming from the competitors in the upcoming Women's NRL – including in this week's special Women in League edition of Big League magazine.

From the history-making mother and son combination who'll suit up for the Warriors, to the long list of aspiring athletes working full-time and/or raising children while pursuing their rugby league dreams - every participant has a story worth sharing.

What so many of these women have overcome to ensure they can take the field in this history-making competition is truly remarkable.

Jillaroos star Ali Brigginshaw.
Jillaroos star Ali Brigginshaw. ©NRL Photos

But as much as we acknowledge the hard work, talent and ability of those who suit up for their clubs at all levels, there are just as many in vital roles throughout the game.

You can read about many of them in this week's magazine, but they're out there each and every week, doing their best and giving their all to support the game they love – and we should all do exactly the same in return.