Women in League Round
This week’s round of rugby league will be recognised as the Women in League round for all competitions in NRL Victoria, promoting the role of women in our sport, from a playing capacity to the administration and volunteering of clubs.
From a playing perspective, there is now four separate competitions for women to participate in, with an U/14 and U/17 tag competition, along with Women’s Tag and a First Grade competition.
The Women’s First Grade Competition first started in 2015, formerly known simply as Women’s tackle and has expanded from four teams to a seven-team competition. The NRL Tag has now been going for a decade, beginning in 2007, with an even spread of competition, with no clear dominator.
With the instalment of the U/14 and U/17 competitions, the pathways are now available for girls to be able to continue playing through to a senior level.
Werribee is just one example of how women can influence and impact a club at both a playing capacity and in the administration side. The club, after having no female participation or members in 2008, now has an impressive 27% of members and players being female.
Werribee has set out a plan for these numbers to increase however, putting more spotlight on their women’s teams, and introducing the new tag teams so there is a development pathway available in the future for young female athletes. They also interchange the ‘main’ game on Saturday afternoons, between the senior men and senior women, giving their members and supporters the chance to witness both the men’s and women’s game as the ‘feature’ game of the day.
The tag competition allows young girls to experience the concept of rugby league, without the contact being introduced until they are eligible for the senior women competition.
While playing is a big focus, the administration sector of a rugby league club is just as important for the growth of the sport, whether that be the men’s or women’s competition.
Werribee Vice-President, Tiahnee Paterson, hopes that there can be more women present in rugby league clubs. Paterson encouraged other supporters “to be more involved and lead by example to make other ladies and members put their hands up in the future.”
For this weekend’s round, Werribee will mark all their lines on the field in pink, along with hosting a raffle at the ground with all proceeds going to the McGrath Foundation and the Share the Dignity Foundation.
Remaining clubs hosting games this weekend will also be donning the pink socks, while Doveton will also host a Women in League Round event in next week’s home game.