THE LEAGUE LADY | The Reality of the Ruan Sims Saga

The incident regarding Ruan Sims role as a Dally M Judge has revealed a few harsh truths this week.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Ruan Sims was playing in her own match during the Manly vs Eels match last round. She was doing Dally M votes for this game and under the rules supposed to be watching it there live. Sims released a statement on twitter where she admitted the mistake and resigned as a Dally M judge.

Firstly, this is undeniably an important issue. These rules are in place for a reason, and it is in no way acceptable that these rules are broken. The Dally M voting rules ensure that there is a balanced and accurate earning of Australian rugby league’s biggest award, and this does threaten the integrity of that.

But it’s not entirely Sims fault; this should’ve been stopped before it started, and much of the public reaction has revealed a truth about the reception of women in league.

Sims was playing in her terms game at Shark Park, the time of which had been moved. To say that no one in the hierarchy of the NRL approved her playing this or at least knew about it, is either unrealistic or means someone else has made a mistake too. It hasn’t been said if Ruan had asked or been given permission to vote on a replay, but if not someone should have at least noticed this so that a new judge could’ve been arranged for that round.

The controversy has also caused a lot of backlash, a lot of which has been surrounding Ruan’s original appointment as a Dally M judge. Social media has been rife with people questioning why a woman is qualified to be a dally M judge, instead of an ex-NRL player. We’re talking about a woman who has played and watched rugby league her whole life, captained her country and state, been an ambassador for the women’s game and has watched her brothers play in the NRL. Just because she hasn’t played in the NRL herself doesn’t mean that she doesn’t understand good football. While the comments of some don’t represent everyone, the fact that people still don’t accept a woman as a Dally M judge show that we still have a long way to go.

It’s undeniable that what happened threatened the integrity of the Dally M award and should never have happened, but maybe there’s more too it than just Ruan making a mistake.

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