Illawarra Celebrate Women in League Round

Updated: July 28, 2017

The Illawarra Division Rugby League will celebrate the increasing contribution and participation in the sport across the region when the “Smile Team Women in League Round” is held on Saturday 29 July.

The Illawarra has embraced female participation with great commitment in recent seasons, with the addition of an under 10 Ladies League Tag competition, to add to the under 12, 14 and 16 competitions implemented in 2016. The total number of teams in these competitions has risen from 17 in 2016, to 31 in 2017. The Inspirations Paint Illawarra Women’s League also saw the addition of five new teams this season, including the launch of a new under 18 division.

This increased participation has been a major factor in the stellar season the Illawarra Steelers enjoyed in the new NSWRL Tarsha Gale Cup competition for under 18 girls, with the Steelers narrowly missing a finals berth after a narrow loss to eventual premiers Penrith in the semi-finals. All girls in this squad are home grown talent and registered players in the Inspirations Paint Illawarra Women’s League competitions.

The CRL November Nines concept has proven a great introduction to Rugby League for many girls and will again be a major recruitment tool to attract girls 15 and over to the game in the coming off-season, and see continued growth in participation in the tackle format of the game in 2018. Already several new clubs in the region are contemplating fielding teams in female competitions for the first time, driven by local demand.

The growth of participation by females has been staggering in recent years, with registrations up by 270% in 2016, and again up 185% in 2017 with 817 females registered as players in Illawarra competitions.

Volunteers across the game in the region, in roles such as coaches, trainers and committee members currently totals 150.

Whilst clubs will celebrate in their own way, some wearing special pink jerseys, other wearing pink socks, many will be raising funds for the Joanne Mackay Breast Cancer Foundation through the purchase of pink socks, or other match day initiatives. Thirroul JRLFC always embrace the Women in League round in a big way, and will field teams sporting pink jerseys and socks this weekend.