New Interest In Women’s Rugby
More than 190 000 women are competing in National Rugby League – with female interest in the sport never in history being as high as currently. 2017 was also to be the first year to see live women’s National Rugby League to be broadcast on television – truly a year for the books. The match between the Kiwi Ferns and the Jillaroos was televised live on Channel 9 by Fox Sports and Sky Sports New Zealand.
Jillaroos full back Sam Bremner praised the National Rugby League, saying that it continuously presented Women’s Rugby with more and more opportunities every time they came together. Jillaroos also said that the best thing about the ongoing support by the National Rugby League had been the exposure that it afforded to Women’s Rugby, as many people were not even aware – up until very recently – that Australia had a National Women’s Rugby team.
Ultimately it was the level of exposure that seems to have done the trick. Bremner said that a new level of respect had come toward Women’s Rugby – people began to realise that the girls gave each other every bit as hard a run for the money as did the boys.
Another breakthrough is that the Jillaroos received an allowance while in camp for this year’s test. This is also an unprecedented – and highly welcome – move, that has set the wheels in motion for female players to hopefully one day be able to play professional Rugby; not having to hold down a full-time day job simultaneously with trying to establish a career in the previously male-dominated game.
Bremner said that it was an exciting prospect to think that one day in the hopefully not too distant future, women would be able to focus on Rugby League as a full time profession. Women would finally be able to see just how good they could become if Rugby League were to be a full time job.
Success Not Something That Can Be Rushed
Despite the excitement, National Rugby League Chief Executive Todd Greenberg warned about wanting to fly too high, too soon. Greenberg said that it would be prudent to build from the ground up – as this would ensure long-term sustainability, and that it would be foolish to start a competition with guns a-blazing, without the substance necessary to support it, below it.
Greenberg went on to say that there was no use doing things in halves merely because it’s the popular thing to do.
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