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The National Rugby League (NRL) today launched the 2022 Harvey Norman Women in League Round, calling on the whole Rugby League community to recognise, celebrate and support women at all levels across the game.

This year’s theme is ‘Play Your Part to Change the Story’, highlighting that everyone has an important role to play in driving increased opportunities for women, both on and off the field.

NRL CEO, Andrew Abdo, said that Harvey Norman Women in League Round is an opportunity to celebrate progress and those helping to drive it, as well as reflect on the work still to be done.

“Harvey Norman Women in League Round is a chance to celebrate all those who are playing their part for women in Rugby League - the incredible volunteers and club staff working tirelessly at grassroots, the legends and emerging stars inspiring young women to take up the game, the coaches and administrators creating new pathways, and our partners and media giving women the profile they deserve.

“We are proud that women’s Rugby League continues to enjoy unprecedented growth from grassroots all the way up to the elite level. We now have almost 35,000 registered female players across Australia – more than triple the number we had at the start of 2016 – and have already surpassed 2021’s total registrations this year by seven per cent.

“That, in turn, is supporting the growth of our state competitions and the NRLW, which will expand from six to 10 teams in 2023.

“But this round is also a reminder that we need to keep working for greater representation at all levels of the game – particularly when it comes to leadership positions across the game and creating pathways for future executives. Like any high performing team, we need everyone in the Rugby League community to play their part to change the story.” 

Harvey Norman CEO, Katie Page – the founder of Women in League Round – said that the round is as important now as when it was first introduced 16 years ago.

“When we started Harvey Norman Women in League Round in 2007, we wanted to recognise the thousands of women who work tirelessly in voluntary roles to bind and drive the rugby league community from the grassroots. As importantly, Harvey Norman Women in League was and is about the fans – those who make every facet of this wonderful game come to life. Mum, Dad, brother, sister, best mates - Harvey Norman Women in League is there to ensure the code is a true reflection of all the faces in the crowd, at training or on the couch watching at home.

“We need to step up and not get complacent. Over the 16 years we have built the pathways to increase female participation across the board, but now we need to ask ourselves what we want to achieve by 2026, when we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Harvey Norman Women in League. Now is the time to set new targets and we need to aim high.”

As part of this year’s Harvey Norman Women in League Round, each of the 16 NRL clubs is nominating a role model who is playing their part for women in Rugby League. The role models will be celebrated in broadcast coverage and at the eight NRL matches from Thursday 28 July to Sunday 31 July.

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.