This week the NRL celebrates Women in League round; an opportunity to recognise role models in the rugby league community and focus on the gender equality gap more broadly.
The NRL will be shining a spotlight on the people who are instrumental in bringing the game to fans and grassroots players across Australia.
Among those who are contributing to female participation in rugby league is our very own Pauline Poloai, who has worked in development and community roles in Victorian rugby league for the past 10 years.
Female participation represents the fastest growing segment of the game with 15% growth over the past few years and Pauline has a fair bit to do with that here in Vic.
Her achievements include the foundation of community female competitions, delivering female specific education activities for coaches, coordinators and volunteers, establishing junior girl-specific gala days and establishing female junior leadership camps.
Pauline is also a major contributor to female pathway and elite programs, coordinating state programs and as trainer for the Samoan international women’s team and Victorian state men’s and women’s teams.
She was awarded a Scholarship under the Victorian Government’s Change Our Game program in 2021 to advance women in sports industry.
NRL Victoria General Manager Brent Silva said Pauline is a role model who is playing her part in levelling the playing field for gender equality.
"We are rapt this initiative is taking place," Silva said.
"It is important to recognise the amazing work of role models across the game that support women in rugby league.
"I was delighted - and I know the rest of the team were too - when we found out that Pauline is being recognised in this capacity."