The National Rugby League (NRL) will recognise more than half a million women involved at all levels of the game through the 15th Harvey Norman Women In League Round this weekend.
This Harvey Norman Women in League Round is themed - Play Your Part – highlighting that everyone has an important role to play in recognising and accelerating opportunities for women within our sport and our community.
NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said the Harvey Norman Women In League Round provides an opportunity to recognise, celebrate and profile women in the game and the contribution they make.
“Harvey Norman Women In League Round is an important week for us. It is an opportunity to celebrate the women who play such a vital role in our sport, but it is also a reminder that we need to strive to create more opportunities for women to be involved in all levels of the game,’’ he said.
“At the grassroots level, we celebrate the players, the volunteers and the women who every week give up their time to ensure rugby league prospers.
“It’s also an opportunity to celebrate the growth in opportunities for women across all parts of our sport, from the athletes, officials, sports scientists, educators and trainers to the women who are working in senior roles at the NRL and clubs, playing a vital role in shaping our game.
“As a game, we need to lead - that’s why the Commission is prioritising creating more opportunities for women in the game at all levels, from grassroots to elite. We want to empower more women to become leaders in rugby league, creating more role models on and off the field.”
The founder of Women In League Round, Harvey Norman Chief Executive Katie Page, said she was continually encouraged by how the round had celebrated and progressed the roles of females in the sport.
“At the start of Women in League we were really focused on ensuring that the women’s game was seen on television alongside of the men’s game. Fan bases grow when you can watch the game from home; young girls are inspired to join their local team if they can see their heroes play for their local team or state. None of us could’ve conceived how important broadcast would become now as we live in the midst of the pandemic.
“We need to stay connected as a community; sport and rugby league provides us that link. It is no surprise that the Women’s State of Origin broadcast audience grew 27% since 2020 and 740,000 watched the Women’s Grand Final last year and it is a natural consequence that female participation in the game is the fastest growing segment in rugby league up 15% overall. If you see those girls and women play you just want to be a part of it.”