This weekend, the NRL community has been talking about a couple of things. They seem to fall into one of the following categories:
- the Australia v New Zealand Test on Friday night;
- Paul Kent;
- the irrelevance of Paul Kent; or
- the utility of City v Country football.
None of these topics are what had me most excited this weekend.
What I want to talk about is when history was made on Friday night. I want to talk about a game which was the first of its kind. I want to talk about something which was a long time coming.
For those of you who still haven’t worked out what I’m talking about, I’m talking about the historic curtain-raiser which took place before the Australia v New Zealand Test on Friday night – the Women’s All Stars v the Indigenous Women’s All Stars.
As a women who loves rugby league it was tremendous to see the women battle it out and to see women celebrated for more than being cheerleaders or mums on the side of the field cheering on their boys. It is time to see the NRL truly embrace women and the contribution that they can make to our sport.
We have some seriously talented female athletes in this country. Only the week before saw Australia’s touch football teams win the Trans-Tasman series against New Zealand.
I was delighted to see more talented women take the spotlight on Friday night.
Ultimately it was the Women’s All Stars who were victorious on the night. They took a 14-0 lead going into half time. The final score was 24-0.
Here are some names to take notice of if you haven’t heard them already – Ali Brigginshaw, Maddie Studdon and Emily Andrews. These are stars of tomorrow.
The idea of a female game as a curtain raiser has been on the cards for a long time. Catharine Lumby has suggested that a women’s game would be a perfect curtain raiser for State of Origin. I agree! These women need to be celebrated and recognised for the tremendous contributions they are making to Australian sport and to rugby league.
Not only was the talent on show for both teams, but it was wonderful to see Kasey Badger referee the game.
In both the EPL and the A-League women are involved in officiating. This I feel would be great for the NRL and Kasey shows that there is no lack of women involved in officiating. In 2012, Kasey Badger became the first female referee in our Toyota Cup competition. Hopefully it is only a matter of time before we see Kasey in the NRL. However, it was great to see her in the spotlight on Friday night (and I’m not seeing too many complaints about her in the media this week)
As a female who loves NRL it brought me so much joy to see these women play on Friday night. Hopefully it is only the beginning of recognising how valuable women are to the sport and the contributions they can make.
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