Throughout my schooling, I knew very little about women’s rugby league. I knew some competition existed, and there were one or two school competitions, but I knew nothing about anything more permanent.
Thursdays 2017 Female State Finals Day saw over 500 girls participate in Year 5-6, Year 7-8, Under 16’s and Opens. 32 Sydney and regional primary and high schools were involved, and it was streamed live on the NSWRL website.
But when we have national and state teams, why does this matter?
It matters because its a reassurance for the future. Younger girls are growing up around and interested in rugby league. It’s a start for what hopefully in a few years will become age divisions like in men’s, and there will no longer be a break between under 11’s and opens competitions. How talented will these girls be with that extra few years of practice could be that final decider for bringing a first grade competition.
It’s unfortunate to say, but we still do have that idea that rugby league is “only a mans game” in Australia. While their opinions might not get media coverage, there are still comments that are against women’s rugby league. These school competitions get that idea out of the way at an early age, so girls aren’t growing up like me, wishing they could play league but not knowing how or where.
Thursday’s competition was the biggest schoolgirls Rugby League competition ever held in New South Wales, despite being a yearly occurrence. The numbers just go to show that women’s rugby league is growing by the year, and what is now a group of smaller competitions can become a full national sport with age and grade divisions in a few years time.
To put it in the most simple way possible, the success of is such a positive sign for the future of women’s rugby league.