You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Women in League award winner Biance Johnston.

A mother of three who does shift work in the mines, Bianca Johnston describes her life as "organised chaos".

She somehow manages another time-consuming job as secretary of the Muswellbrook Junior Rugby League Club - work which has earned her the NRL Women in League Award for 2019.

Through Johnston's perseverance, the female game is now thriving in Group 21, with the Muswellbrook Ramettes having more than 100 registered women across six tackle and league tag teams.

It's an amazing achievement considering Muswellbrook had no women's sides before Johnston stepped up in 2016.

"I come from a long line of footy players. It's sort of in our blood," Johnston, who was formerly Muswellbrook's Women's League Coordinator, told

"When my daughter was about seven she said, 'Mum, I want to play football'. Obviously, when she hit 12 there was no pathway for girls after that.

Johnston recognised for tireless work in women's game

"It kind of was opening up with women in league and it took off from there. I asked our local club if we could put a girls team in.

"Luckily for me, they were supportive of that decision. It's just grown since then."

Johnston heads down to training sessions most days during the week and proudly professes that she "never misses a game".

The Muswellbrook under-14s tackle team won the premiership this season, while the 16s reached the grand final but fell short.

However, there have been plenty of obstacles for Johnston to overcome to get to this point.

I'm still hitting brick walls and roadblocks but they won't stop me

Women in League award winner Bianca Johnston

"It was hard to get it all up and established. It was pretty much, 'If you want it, you do it'," Johnston said.

"I'm still hitting brick walls and roadblocks but they won't stop me."

NRL general manager of the elite women's program Tiffany Slater said presenting Johnston with the Women in League Award was merely a small show of gratitude for her consistent efforts.

"The work that Bianca has done is exceptional," Slater said.

"The growth of women's rugby league is thanks to the passionate and committed people like Bianca - particularly in regional and country areas - who are giving up a lot of their own time."

Award sponsor Harvey Norman - a long-time supporter of women's rugby league - applauded Johnston's dedication to advancing the game.

"Bianca Johnston is the reason the Women in League Award exists," Harvey Norman CEO Katie Page said.

"Bianca has brought over 100 young girls into the game and her creation of the team pathway for teenage girls in Muswellbrook has kept them there.

"Significantly, Bianca is determined to see girls and young women playing as a club, beyond a single team. ​

NRL Nines 2020 is headed to Perth

"For Harvey Norman, the contribution and support of Women in League doesn't stand still. We are like Bianca and ask 'What's next?'"

Though massive progress has already been made, Johnston is set on achieving bigger things.

"I'm hoping that in the next couple of years we can branch out. Instead of there only being one town that has girls tackle teams, the rest of the towns that make up Group 21 can form tackle teams as well for the girls," Johnston said.

"I would like to try to push for girls rep tackle sides next season. It's probably going to annoy a few people but I won't give up until I get to where I've got to go.

"[My goal is] to have them have the pathways and opportunities to reach levels that my sons could reach."

Acknowledgement of Country

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.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners