Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

'EXCITING TIME' IN WOMEN'S LEAGUE; Former Jillaroo Skipper Hails New Chapter after NRL Announce Female Competition

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

'EXCITING TIME' IN WOMEN'S LEAGUE; Former Jillaroo Skipper Hails New Chapter after NRL Announce Female Competition

Article excerpt

CALLUM

DICK

callum.dick@qt.com.au

BROTHERS Ipswich coach and former Jillaroo Natalie Dwyer has labelled it "an exciting time" for women in rugby league, following the NRL's announcement of a women's competition beginning in 2018.

Dwyer, who captained the first-ever Jillaroos side in a two-test series against New Zealand in 1995, said she never expected "it would get to this stage so quickly".

"I didn't think women's rugby league would get to where it is now, I think it's great they're going to be paid and their talents put on show," Dwyer said.

"It's exciting times now for the women's game. It's great to see they're starting to get some recognition."

With the AFL, FFA and Cricket Australia already making significant inroads into women's sport, the NRL was seen to be drastically behind the curve.

Dwyer said it was not a lack of desire from the NRL to expedite a women's competition, rather the governing body wanted to ensure everything was in place for the format to flourish.

"It's been on the cards for a while, but they just wanted to get everything right," she said.

"They don't want the competition to only last for a season, and have it cost too much money and then all falls through.

"I think they've just been a bit apprehensive in wanting to make sure it does work, and they have their Ts crossed and Is dotted."

The overwhelming success of the recent Rugby League Women's World Cup, won for a second consecutive time by the Jillaroos, likely ticked the final box for the NRL to forge ahead with the competition.

"I think the fact a television station was willing to televise those games is another big thing," Dwyer said.

"For people that may not have known women's rugby league was around, they could turn the TV on and see it in the comfort of their own living rooms. …

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