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Photography: Breeana Dunbar

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.

Women in League round provides another opportunity to celebrate the club's long-standing partnership with the Victorian Women’s Trust.

For more than 10 years we have helped to promote the VWT vision of full gender equality - a world where women, girls, and gender diverse people take up all of life’s opportunities with respect, safety and dignity.

On Thursday night the squad will run-out in Melbourne Storm x VWT warm up tees, which pay tribute to the partnership and the shared values of both organisations.

Player Welfare Manager Brian Phelan and Player Wellbeing Coordinator Peter Robinson have been active members of the VWT Critical Friends Group, supporting the development of Club Respect, a community sports initiative that promotes safety and respect in clubs across the country.

"We have used our platform to make a difference, by being the voice for the silent and educating men on what’s appropriate behaviour and what a respectful relationship looks like," Robinson said of the partnership.

Over the journey, our partnership has helped develop and deliver the ‘Be the Hero’ campaign to local rugby league clubs, while our ‘Storming Against Violence’ campaign engaged the wider community in a dialogue around violence prevention and highlighted the key role men play in reducing violence against women and children.

The Victorian Women’s Trust is very proud to be partnered with a like-minded organisation like Storm, one that is committed to gender equality. Since 2010, this partnership has been one built on respect and a commitment from both parties to achieving real results. Together, we can achieve gender equality in our lifetime.

Victorian Women's Trust