Storm players on the women at the heart of rugby league

Women In League Round recognises the vital contributions of the many women across every NRL club and in the wider rugby league community.

Ahead of our Women In League match against the Raiders on Saturday night, Storm co-vice captain Dale Finucane and recent NRL debutant Nicho Hynes reflect on the women at the heart of rugby league.

Finucane said his wife Maddie and mum Sharon were the unsung heroes of his football career.

"Maddie is very supportive and puts up with the routines I have pre-game and through the week," he said.

"She has sacrificed a lot and moved away from family so I can do what I love.

"Mum drove me to everything when I was younger and wouldn't let me miss out on anything."

The Storm lock was positive about the way the game has progressed to be more inclusive of women, including the introduction of the elite women's competition.

"I feel the women's game has developed a lot over the past few years."

Dale Finucane

"A good friend of mine, Kezie Apps, has been instrumental in the success of the women's game to date and her story of sacrifice and dedication is enough to motivate any girl who is looking to play rugby league," he said.

While female participation remains the fastest growing category in the game, Finucane also acknowledged the pivotal role women play in the lives of men playing professional rugby league. 

"Women have played such an important role in our lives," he said.

"At grassroots level, women do so much behind the scenes so their kids can enjoy training and game day. Partners are the ones who make the biggest sacrifices at an elite level, moving cities and often raising young families away from their own support networks."

When Nicho Hynes made his NRL debut in front of his home town crowd last week, his mum was one of the first people he sought out after the game.

"The women in my life have supported me massively on and off the field. Whether it's taking me to training as a youngster or supporting me in any big decisions I've had to make or just being a shoulder to cry on," he said.

"I think it's important we celebrate women in league round because they are the ones riding the waves with us all along."

Nicho Hynes

"Especially during the tough times, they are just as emotionally invested in the game as we are and they do such a great job supporting their sons/partners/brothers or whoever it may be."

Hynes echoed similar sentiments about the importance of recognising the women who are the backbone of grassroots rugby league.

"It's so important to acknowledge the women at grassroots level because that's where it all starts for every rugby league player," he said.

"Without women volunteering at the local clubs I don't think any of those clubs would survive very long."