As we celebrate Women in League Round, we believe it is only fitting to recognise and highlight some of the integral women involved with Melbourne Storm in all areas of the club, playing their part in creating a gender-equal future for rugby league.
Regan Gardiner – Football Department
Regan Gardiner is Training and Logistics Manager at Melbourne Storm. After six years with the Club, and currently the only permanent woman in the football department, Gardiner has cemented herself as a loved and crucial part of the Storm training team.
When asked what her advice for women entering the sports industry would be, she responded “It’s okay to ask for help when you need it. You don't have to prove anything.”
We’ll learn more about Regan in an upcoming feature on her role within Storm.
Michaela Berry - Administration Department
Michaela Berry is the Head of Marketing at Melbourne Storm. While only one year into her role with the Club, Berry has extensive marketing experience cross-codes (including union, league and AFL). As a leader within the Club, Michaela overseas marketing, brand and design and works collaboratively across all departments to bring key projects and campaigns to life.
Michaela has also been an integral driver in bringing to life the new Women of Storm program. Alongside General Manager of Digital, Marketing and Data, Tayah Bot, she has led the charge on highlighting and celebrating the women that make Melbourne Storm the club you know and love.
Tara Hinchliffe – Sunshine Coast Lightning
Tara Hinchliffe is an athlete at Storm’s sister netball club, Sunshine Coast Lightning. Joining Lightning at the beginning of the year, Tara quickly made certain she possesses talent in spades.
After a potentially devastating ACL rupture sidelined the goalkeeper in 2021, Hinchliffe went the extra mile to rehabilitate and return to the 2022 season by Round 1 which saw her record 19 intercepts and 39 deflections.
Described as a player that embodies the true spirit of Lightning, Tara ended her debut season with the Club by taking home the 2022 Coaches’ Award, further cementing herself as one of the most exciting and stand-out players in Super Netball.
Committed to increasing women’s inclusion in sports, Tara will continue to play her part as a Women of Storm ambassador.
Jillian McRoberts – NRL Victoria Community
Jillian McRoberts has been an active referee in the Victorian rugby league for almost 20 years. In 2019, she became the first female to referee a senior men’s Grand Final in the Victorian competition, going on to become the only woman on the newly created NRL Touch Victorian Referee Advisory Panel in 2021.
As an accredited Referee coach, she voluntarily and actively supports, mentors and educates other junior female and male referees, paving the way for women to be accepted as referees in the rugby league community.
You’ll have the opportunity to learn more about Jillian in an upcoming feature on the experienced referee.
Sarah Cross – Administration Department
Sarah Cross is the Game Day and Event Coordinator at Melbourne Storm. Having worked in the sporting industry for over 10 years, four of those with Storm in a range of event-related roles, “Crossy” is another crucial part of the Storm community bringing every Storm clash at AAMI Park to life.
Ensuring the much-loved Storm family never goes without, Sarah ensures fans are the top priority of every match day to provide the best game-day experience for the purple faithful. From ticketing to catering to getting players on-field on time, a Melbourne game day or event wouldn’t be the same without her.
You’ll get to know Crossy in the next episode of Melbourne Made.
Pauline Poloai – NRL Victoria Staff
Pauline Poloai has worked in development and community roles in Victorian rugby league for over a decade.
A pioneer in playing her part, Poloai's accolades in making headway for females involved in rugby league continue to grow year on year. 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.
In 2021, Pauline was awarded a scholarship under the Victorian Government’s Change Our Game program where she continued her work contributing to female pathway and elite programs, coordinating state programs all alongside working as a trainer for the Samoan international women’s team and Victorian state men’s and women’s teams.