At the same time almost 60 females participated in a school holiday girls' pathway clinic to learn the basics of rugby league, the future of the women’s game was being secured with the NSW Rugby League (NSWRL) and Queensland Rugby League joining forces to announce Harvey Norman as the first major sponsor of women’s Rugby League.
The announcement was made at Mounties and will see for the first time an unbroken pathway from under-six girls to open representative competition in both states.
Traditionally there has been a a longstanding gap for female rugby league players between playing in mixed junior leagues and open-aged competitions.
NSWRL had worked to bridge the gap with the introduction of the Tarsha Gale Gup this year and the increased resourcing of the NSWRL Women’s Premiership.
The partnership with Harvey Norman will support the fastest growing segment in rugby league and further develop the state pathways and talent pool for expansion of the women’s game.
NSWRL chief executive David Trodden said it was a “historic day” to secure a sponsor for the women’s game and female pathways programs.
NSWRL Football General Manager BJ Mather said the goal was to build a state-based semi-professional women’s competition in the next three years.
“At a representative level, 2018 will see our interstate women’s competition given Origin status and the match will be played as a double-header with one of the men’s Origin games,” he said.
NSW Rugby League (NSWRL) and Queensland Rugby League’s (QRL) partnership with Harvey Norman includes naming rights of the:
- NSW and Queensland women’s Interstate Challenge teams.
- NSW City Origin team.
- NSWRL Open Women’s Conference.
- NSWRL Women’s Premiership.
- Female-only coaching clinics.
- Grassroots female carnivals.