After the successes of the women’s rugby union game; which has taken a spotlight alongside the men’s game, news that a women’s rugby league competition that will shine the light onto the sport, is a fantastic step. A newly developed Women’s Premiership will be a touchpoint for fans and stakeholders.
The National Rugby League (NRL) have officially launched the 2018 Holden Women’s Premiership. The four team competition has been strategically designed to establish a footprint for women’s rugby league, with supporting International and State of Origin series, leading up to the September dates [to be confirmed]
Our teams for the 2018 @holden_aus Women's Premiership!https://t.co/ZBHPAClkps#OurWay pic.twitter.com/cNMY4pkPqO
— Women's Rugby League (@WRugbyLeague) March 26, 2018
NRL Women’s Premiership Series, to coincide with 2018 Finals
With the four teams selected (out of the entire roster of NRL clubs) the Brisbane Broncos, St George Illawarra Dragons, Sydney Roosters and New Zealand Warriors will compete in the inaugural competition.
Two teams from the New South Wales, are joined by the Queensland side and a women’s team from New Zealand. It is a more limited competition than envisaged, but is designed to support earlier scheduled steps that will all build to the premier competition.
The Women’s Premiership is just one step forward. The NRL and it’s stakeholders have worked hard to develop increased competitions and extended pathways, built around record participation levels. The 2017 Rugby League World cup women’s matches enjoyed great support.
Same Game. Our Way
That strategy will see several stages taken; prior to the Women’s Premiership being scheduled within a four week period, around the NRL Finals Series.
From the NRL media release, the planned 2018 strategy was detailed. A ‘new era’ for women in league is planned, with highlights including:
- a Women’s Premiership competition, played throughout the NRL Finals, with a double-header Grand Final, alongside the men’s Grand Final.
- A stand-alone State of Origin match (formerly known as the Interstate Challenge) between New South Wales and Queensland, played during the NRL’s representative weekend in mid-June.
- State League competitions, with Grand Finals to be played as double-headers prior to Women In League Round matches.
- A National Championship carnival and Talent ID, congregating the best state talent on a national stage and providing a sequential pathway for female players to progress to the elite level.
- The Harvey Norman Jillaroos playing international matches in the Pacific and New Zealand.
This is hoped to create a footprint, from where the growth in women’s rugby league participation can be built upon. The higher frequency of matches will bring more attention, thus resulting in an awareness of the matches, to grow the games appeal over the next few years.
Same Game.#OurWay. https://t.co/XQSvnhJusJ pic.twitter.com/3tcdpOPio7
— NRL (@NRL) March 26, 2018
And those are the ideals behind the limited introduction. Beginning with just four teams – but importantly including a team from Queensland and New Zealand – that initial competition will broaden the fan support-base. In saying that, the more established clubs in New South Wales, can also put forward a concentrated competition that leads to State matches, and the popular State of Origin concept.
The team based in New Zealand can then concentrate on building their strengths towards the Kiwi Ferns v Jillaroos tests, before finalizing on a contracted Vodafone Warriors squad, to be ready before the NRL finals series begins.
NZ Warriors fully backing the 2018 Women’s Premiership
The Vodafone Warriors have today been confirmed as one of four clubs in the trailblazing competition which will run over a four-week period, alongside the 2018 NRL finals. In a media release, the NZ Warriors executive chairman Jim Doyle said “With the success the Kiwi Ferns have had, it’s logical to have one of the teams in New Zealand.
“It’s also tremendous for our brand to be able to embrace the community in the fullest sense.”
“The board sees this as a huge opportunity to take the club and the game to new levels here by offering more pathways than ever for players in New Zealand. Not only that, this opens the door for new supporters and commercial opportunities,” said Doyle.
Taking up one of the four licences for the inaugural women’s premiership was vital from a strategic viewpoint. It means the Vodafone Warriors will now have four teams under their ‘umbrella’ in the NRL; the Intrust Super Premiership, the Jersey Flegg Cup under-20 competition and now the NRL women’s premiership.
Confirmed dates for the NRL Women’s Premiership schedule during the NRL Finals Series, is to be announced. Follow Last Word on Rugby for updates on the exciting development.
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