Why Super League needs a Women in League round

For years the NRL has included a Women in League round. It’s one of the brilliant themed rounds of fixtures our Australian cousins organise to add a little something extra to a weekend of rugby and draw attention to overlooked elements in our great game.

Alongside the Indigenous Round and the Anzac Round, the Women in League round plays an important role in the NRL season highlighting the importance of women in our great game whether that’s the mothers, wives, girlfriends or sisters of players or even the stars of the women’s game which is constantly growing both down under and in England.

Which is precisely why we need a Women in League round in Super League. With women’s rugby league growing at an exceptional rate heading towards a blockbuster World Cup next year, we need to shine another light on women’s rugby league and the role women play even in the men’s game.

Look at Rob Burrow. The role his wife Lindsey played in supporting his career according to his brilliant book ‘Too Many Reasons to Live’ is inspiring and she’s only become more of an inspiration since his diagnosis whilst his daughters have also been something special in all of their TV appearances since their family life was rocked by the tragedy of MND.

It’ll be the same for every player too. Their families, their daughters, their wives, girlfriends and mothers are just as key to the success any Super League star achieves and a Women in League Round would be the perfect opportunity to thank them. Moreover, plenty of staff in Super League are women. Whether doctors, physios or occupying other roles, women play a huge and central role in most teams and it’s time we to remember that.

Of course, we also have a brilliant new sport in the shape of women’s rugby league which is growing and growing. We saw a record crowd at Headingley for this year’s Women’s Super League Grand Final between St Helens and Leeds, and this shows the huge strides forward the game has already taken and the platform we have to build from.

A Women in League Round would be the perfect opportunity to shine a light on the competition with every game that round partnered with a Women’s Super League fixture with the Sky games also broadcasting the women’s fixture as well as the selected men’s matches.

It would be the perfect opportunity to get more games on TV building on the impressive coverage we’ve already seen from the BBC and Sky. It would also provide the perfect platform for the coming World Cups and create a wider audience both through TV coverage but also by showing fans of the men teams the impressive women’s game.

I can’t take credit for this idea, it was raised on the Leeds Rhinos podcast The Lot Pod but it’s something we should all get behind as it would provide the perfect opportunity for us to again support the other areas of our sport and get more people of all ages, genders and abilities involved in the greatest game of all.

Topping it all off, it would also be the perfect opportunity for a special one-off shirt. We’ve seen just how nice the NRL kits are during the Women in league Round, we could see a Super League equivalent and I’m sure there would be some absolutely beautiful kits produced as the sport remembers the important role women play in the male game and the brilliance of the growing women’s competition.

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