The NRL will celebrate a decade of the Harvey Norman Women in League Round this weekend at a time when female participation in all forms of league continues to be the fastest growing category in the game.
The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys wore their striking 2016 Women in League jersey in last Saturday's home game against the Storm, in recognition of the Round 22 festivities.
This year’s Women in League Round will feature support across all matches including Women in League signage on-field and at matches; 40m line numbers changed to purple, the colour of the round; and referees wearing Women in League jerseys.
Fans are encouraged to show their support for the round on social by using #WomenInLeague.
Harvey Norman CEO Katie Page, who developed the Women in League Round 10 years ago, said the round had continued to grow and shine a light on the vital role women were and are playing in rugby league, particularly at the grassroots level.
"If I think back to 2007 when we started Harvey Norman Women in League, we have achieved so much, however at the same time we can see now what is possible and how the game must remain focused,” Ms Page said.
“We must ensure we support the next generation of women – mothers, administrators and female players coming up through the ranks.
“In recent years, we have seen the expansion into increasing female player participation, improving pathways to elite competition and better support for those women who play the game at the highest level.
“Each of these groups of women must remain the foundation of why Women in League exists and who it seeks to support.
"Female influence, participation and perspective is required across the code if it is to expand and thrive.
"The Australian sporting landscape is highly competitive – no sport or code can afford to neglect the role women can and do play. This is a vital consideration that must remain a constant, consistent priority.”
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg praised Ms Page for her unwavering support of women in rugby league and the continued dedication to realising equality for females working in and playing all forms of league.
“Katie has been a champion of women’s sport, not only in Australia, but throughout the world and rugby league is fortunate to have Katie’s commitment and support,” Mr Greenberg said.
“I am proud of the thousands of women who are part of all levels of our game – from our commission, through to boards, CEOs, our Indigenous council, ambassadors, volunteers, elite players and our grassroots participants."