Women’s NRL competition announced for 2018

Scott Pryde Roar Guru

By Scott Pryde, Scott Pryde is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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    The NRL has announced a new women’s competition will begin in 2018, aiming to capitalise on the success of the Jillaroos at the recent Rugby League World Cup.

    The newly-announced women’s premiership will be played at the back end of the season – throughout the lead-up to and during the NRL finals, with games set to be played as double-headers.

    The competition is expected to feature six teams, although they will not be announced until the new year, with state leagues to be played as they were in 2017 during the winter months.

    Finals of those state leagues will be played as double-headers alongside NRL Women in League round matches during the 2017 season before the women’s national competition gets underway.

    In another giant step forward, it’s also been confirmed the grand final of the women’s competition will be played on NRL grand final day, which is one of the biggest day’s on Australia’s sporting calendar.

    The NRL have also announced a stand-alone Women’s State of Origin match will be played on the new form of representative weekend. It will feature the men’s State of Origin Game 2 on Sunday afternoon, Pacific Test matches and the women’s match.

    This is a step up with the women’s match formerly known as the interstate challenge and brings it on equal footing with the men’s game.

    In another boost, 40 players will be on Jillaroos contracts, with the national team likely to play more Tests in New Zealand and the Pacific during 2018.

    NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said it creates a pathway which gives players the opportunity to perform.

    “For the first time, there will be a dedicated pathway for our women to follow – from grassroots junior league, to State Competitions, and on to Premiership matches and representative Origin and Test match opportunities,” Greenberg said.

    “The Women’s game has become an attraction in its own right and anyone who has seen the Jillaroos in action cannot help but be impressed by the skills and athleticism on display.

    “The NRL is determined to provide the right channels for women to follow and play rugby league – and today is a great starting point for that program.”

    The competition has been in the pipeline for some time, but Greenberg has previously talked about building enough talent to not rush the competition into existence.

    “We are not going to rush in with a larger competition until we have the numbers to give it the quality it deserves,” he said.

    “But I have no doubt that, as more women take up the game, the competition will grow.”

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,800 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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    The Crowd Says (99)

    • December 6th 2017 @ 11:44am
      Brian said | December 6th 2017 @ 11:44am | ! Report

      I am by no means a Rugby expert but would the better players end up moving across to the union 7s

      • December 6th 2017 @ 1:25pm
        Boz said | December 6th 2017 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

        Depends on how much value you place on the chance of an Olympic medal. Most of the forwards wouldn’t be able to play sevens.

        IMO the Olympics is losing is lustre, but that’s another argument.

        • Roar Rookie

          December 6th 2017 @ 9:24pm
          Squidward said | December 6th 2017 @ 9:24pm | ! Report

          7s girls get to travel the world all year round in their tournaments though

      • December 6th 2017 @ 6:35pm
        terrence said | December 6th 2017 @ 6:35pm | ! Report

        Some players might, but Rugby 7’s has a pretty small squad size, 12 per game, 15 per tournament. Not much wriggle room, not a great deal of opportunity..

    • Roar Guru

      December 6th 2017 @ 12:10pm
      Riley Pettigrew said | December 6th 2017 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

      Great news! I’m really looking forward to this.

      If I was to guess which teams will become involved I’d say Sharks, Dragons, Broncos, Storm (Sunshine Coast), Raiders and Warriors. Fantastic to see the Jillaroos will be playing regular internationals.

      • December 6th 2017 @ 1:32pm
        KingCowboy said | December 6th 2017 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

        Hopefully the Cows will end up getting a team as well. Understand the issue of cost with travel but there are some talented ladies running around up north!

      • December 6th 2017 @ 6:42pm
        terrence said | December 6th 2017 @ 6:42pm | ! Report

        Why two southern coastal teams in Sydney? Why no Newcastle team? Why can’t NZ continue with their own comp?

        How about North Queensland, Brisbane, Newcastle, Canberra, Illawarra, Sydney in a six team comp.

        In an eight team comp split Sydney in two and add Melbourne.

        • Roar Rookie

          December 6th 2017 @ 9:23pm
          Squidward said | December 6th 2017 @ 9:23pm | ! Report

          Well Cronulla have a ladies team for a couple years now. So they’re guaranteed to field one next year.

          • December 7th 2017 @ 11:37am
            terrence said | December 7th 2017 @ 11:37am | ! Report

            Squid, there are 7 teams in the Sydney Womens open grade comp that include a Cronulla/Caringbah (a team from the Hunter and Central Coast, plus 4 Sydney based teams (one in the inner city, one on the northern beaches and two based in Western Sydney).

            Not sure why current inclusion equals a guarantee to field one in the new NRL comp.

            • Roar Rookie

              December 7th 2017 @ 12:35pm
              Squidward said | December 7th 2017 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

              Cronulla led the way with contracted women’s players like Ruan Sims and Allana Ferguson. They should be guaranteed

              • December 7th 2017 @ 1:23pm
                terrence said | December 7th 2017 @ 1:23pm | ! Report


                I’m not sure how you worked out Cronulla-Caringbah led the way just because they contracted player? The most successful teams in that competition have been Canley Vale, Forestville and Redfern All Blacks (current champs), they are the clubs that have really pushed the competition forward in Sydney.

                Ruan Sims is a Kiama girl and I suggest that she will be involved in the Illawarra team – an article in todays SMH has SGI (via Illawarra) and the Knights quoted as very keen and leading the way, the Sharks are yet to commit.

        • Roar Guru

          December 6th 2017 @ 10:12pm
          Riley Pettigrew said | December 6th 2017 @ 10:12pm | ! Report

          My reasoning behind the six teams I’m guessing will get teams is:

          Melbourne Storm (Sunshine Coast) – Have a strong pathways system on the Sunshine Coast with netball team, serve for Centeral Queensland region
          Brisbane Broncos – It’s a no-brainer, South-East Queensland needs a team
          Cronulla Sharks – Already have women contracted and have done great things for the game
          St George Illawarra Dragons – Strong Illawarra local league
          New Zealand Warriors – Kiwi Ferns outstanding, NZRL don’t have the resources to go it alone
          Canberra Raiders (or Newcastle Knights or North Queensland Cowboys) – Have fielded a women’s team in the past, strong local league

          I think the Raiders and Warriors are the two biggest question marks though. Either those two, the Knights or Cowboys will get the last franchises in my opinion.

          • December 7th 2017 @ 11:43am
            terrence said | December 7th 2017 @ 11:43am | ! Report

            Not 100% sure that the QRL will want the Storm running a QLD WNRL team, undermining all the work they have done there.

          • Roar Guru

            December 7th 2017 @ 1:54pm
            mastermind5991 said | December 7th 2017 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

            It’s inevitable the Sharks and Dragons will field women’s teams next year (which is what I am really excited about, being a Dragons supporter). They were the first two teams to field full-time women’s teams when they contested a Nine’s match late in the 2016 season.

            From what I’ve heard via Channel Nine Brisbane on Twitter, the Broncos are interested, while the Cowboys are still tossing up their options and the Titans have all but ruled themselves out. The Warriors should also field a side simply to represent New Zealand.

            As for your other two teams, I strongly agree (Storm not only to represent Melbourne but also create pathways to Central Queensland and Raiders for the fact they’ve fielded a women’s team in the past).

            Can’t wait to see which teams win licences in 2018!

            • December 7th 2017 @ 3:36pm
              terrence said | December 7th 2017 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

              No so sure the Sharks are a definite after today’s SMH article. Canberra sound like a definite no in 2018. SGI (through Illawarra) and Knights most keen at this stage.

    • December 6th 2017 @ 12:23pm
      jamesb said | December 6th 2017 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

      This is great news. And it’s good that the NRL is starting off with just six teams. Build a good foundation for the competition to grow and expand in the future.

    • December 6th 2017 @ 1:36pm
      Zac Jones said | December 6th 2017 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

      This comment has been removed for breaching The Roar’s comments policy.

      • December 6th 2017 @ 6:58pm
        Cathar Treize said | December 6th 2017 @ 6:58pm | ! Report

        Do remind me when the AFL had a world cup on FTA with TV ratings higher than men’s ALeague & Super Rugby?

        Oh & did you say the same thing when AFLW came into existence only last year behind netball, cricket, women’s A League, hockey? Thought not.

    • December 6th 2017 @ 1:45pm
      Mike Dugg said | December 6th 2017 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

      Well done. Hopefully from the beginning, there will be equal pay for this female league.

      • December 6th 2017 @ 2:18pm
        Granter said | December 6th 2017 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

        Equal pay?! If the WNRL attracts the same sponsorship, TV rights and gate takings and merchandise, memberships $$$ etc as the men then they will get “equal” pay. I hope you are being sarcastic, if so I have taken the bait hook line and sinker!

        • December 6th 2017 @ 2:49pm
          Roger of Sydney said | December 6th 2017 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

          I dont think it is politically correct to tell the truth Granter

      • December 6th 2017 @ 6:52pm
        terrence said | December 6th 2017 @ 6:52pm | ! Report

        That’s right Mike. All WNRL players will be paid the same as everyone else in that competition.

        Pay equality = a continual lowering of effort/standards = a lack of innovation/entrepreneurial initiative = stagnation = the lowest common denominator is endorsed as the norm.

        Ask the USSR/China/Eastern Europe why they moved away from pay equality/socialism.

        • December 8th 2017 @ 9:37am
          Oingo Boingo said | December 8th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

          The more important question is ,,, Why are we moving towards socialism?

          • December 8th 2017 @ 12:28pm
            terrence said | December 8th 2017 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

            OB, interesting, I’m not so sure that the end game is socialism, but we are moving left to a more bland, nothing special society with minimal differentiation. Why? Gee where do you start.

            It’s interesting that in societies that are more left seem to be moving back towards the right.

            • December 8th 2017 @ 12:46pm
              Oingo Boingo said | December 8th 2017 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

              A stupid population , with an inability to think for itself and an incapacity to question the ones who do the thinking for them.
              Add to that , a thin skinned , self loathing population that is divided on so many levels , you then a species able to be herded with not much more difficulty than a flock of sheep.

              • December 8th 2017 @ 8:52pm
                terrence said | December 8th 2017 @ 8:52pm | ! Report

                OB, on the right track…

    • December 6th 2017 @ 2:39pm
      Sydneysider said | December 6th 2017 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

      “Hopefully from the beginning, there will be equal pay for this female league.”

      No chance of that happening. Doesn’t happen in other sports in Australia who have bigger female participation.

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