I’ve been keen to go check out a game of women’s rugby league for a while but due to lack of convenient locations and viewing opportunities, it was only yesterday that I got around to finally seeing a game of the Jillaroos live in person. As a Roosters fan I barely ever go to games so that should illustrate what a rare occasion this was indeed.
Despite the lopsided scoreline, what I viewed was still an enjoyable contest where pride and passion was at the heart of what they did as opposed to generous match payments. The most noticeable aspect of the game for me was the distinct lack of BS.
There were no complaints about officiating from anyone on field. Play wasn’t halted so the captain could sit down for tea and scones with the ref nor did anyone go into a song and dance routine over how their loose carry was stripped out. Calls were accepted and moved on from quickly. The boys could certainly learn a thing or two from the girls in that department.
The game seemed to flow at a much faster pace as a result. Time flew by as the tries came raining down in the first half to a 42-0 scoreline while a few errors and improved Canadian defence produced a more competitive 2nd half. I’d say this was one of the few cases where being there live for a game of League was better than watching it on TV. The reduced level of finesse isn’t quite as evident when you’re there and just enjoying the game like everyone on field is. All I saw was 34 athletes keen to rip into it albeit to obviously varying degrees of skill level.
At the end of the day I was very glad to have attended the match and make a small contribution to a growing area of Rugby League.
I must admit that I didn’t care much for the women’s game until recently. I knew of it and there were some events like the 9’s where I tuned in although without much of a vested interest. However as it is in life, persistence is key and once the NRL started to make more of a concentrated attempt to promote their game I began to take notice.
Regular appearances by Allana Ferguson and Sam Bremner on the Sunday Footy Show piqued my interest as well as players like Ruan Sims and Kezie Apps gaining a prominent profile in the media as some of the stars of the women’s game. Being able to put names and personalities to a developing product is certainly what I believe to be a good stepping stone towards establishing a competition that people can be interested in.
It’s a game that still needs a lot of refinement and work before it can develop its own professional standard league though. It’s a slight Catch-22 in that the only way that can happen is if the interest level is there. Luckily in its current state, the attention and interest is starting to gain ground.
As it stands women’s rugby league has the potential to reinforce what sport is truly about and that’s inclusiveness and bringing people together. I recently saw a post from Caitlin Moran about a young girl that plays League, who had been inspired by her to dream to be a number 7 and that this girl wasn’t very good at reading or writing but love of footy gives her something to smile about. Sport can reach people of all kinds and give a sense of purpose and community to those who may struggle to find one.
That is the reason why I am looking forward to seeing what the future of Women’s Rugby League holds. It’s a great time to be a fan as the game moves forward to the development of something historic.
Hopefully Molly Meldrum doesn’t have this phrase trademarked but I would recommend that if the opportunity presents itself to go out, do yourselves a favour and check out what it is all about.