Members and fans attending the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys' round 16 game against the Cronulla Sharks are in for a treat, with the home side set to host a special showcase of national women's rugby league at 1300SMILES Stadium.
The Women's Interstate Challenge between Queensland and New South Wales will be played as a curtain-raiser to the NRL game on Saturday 27 June and will feature members of the Australian Jillaroos, who will be competing against each other rather than for the national team.
Jillaroos' coach Steve Folkes said he expected the game to be another great occasion for female rugby league.
“The Interstate Challenge is an exciting and important fixture in the elite women’s rugby league pathway,” Folkes said.
“To have the Women’s Interstate Challenge played at a world-class venue before an NRL match shows the profile and interest that the game and female rugby league participation continues to develop.”
Both sides will be announced in early June, with the game to be streamed live on NRL.com.
The state of female rugby league continues to expand, with the recent Test between the Jillaroos and the New Zealand Ferns attracting a significant television audience, particularly across Sydney and New South Wales.
The win against the Kiwis, coupled with strong viewership, bodes well for the North Queensland clash, where New South Wales will be looking to take their first win against Queensland in 16 appearances.
The game currently has over 180,000 women and girls playing rugby league in Australia, with a 30% increase in club registrations last year.
Tickets to Cowboys v Sharks, which includes entry to the Women's Interstate Challenge, are on sale now through Ticketek – ticketek.com.au, 132 849 or your local Ticketek outlet.