21 June 2022

Women's State of Origin at Canberra Stadium is more than a game

| Tim Gavel
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Four women in front of a banner

Kayla Fleming (second from right) can look to the Raiders NRLW when the competition expands to include four new teams in 2023. Photo: Grant Trouville (NRL Photos).

For years the catch cry in women’s sport was ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’. This was in reference to the absence of coverage in the media of female sports, which was viewed as affecting participation.

Many professions have used that phrase over the years, highlighting the lack of opportunities for women in many workplaces and situations.

Times are changing for the better with optimism that sport is leading the way with a future in a range of sports.

There is still a long way to go with most women’s sports stuck in a semi-professional stage.

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Rugby league, though, has worked hard to improve the standard and the profile of women playing the game, although it is lagging when compared with the progress in the W League, the Super W and the AFLW.

Now rugby league is in the market for players and needs something to showcase the sport to many who haven’t seen it before, especially through live coverage.

With this in mind, and from a Raiders perspective, Friday night’s Women’s Rugby League State of Origin game at Canberra Stadium couldn’t have come at a better time.

The Raiders are one of four new clubs granted licences for the NRLW in 2023. The other clubs gaining a licence are the Sharks, Wests Tigers and North Queensland.

There is now a scramble to find quality players.

The obvious place to look for talent is within the ranks of current players in local competitions and rugby union.

Four women in front of banners

NRL Women’s Premiership will expand to 10 teams in 2023 with the addition of the Canberra Raiders, Cronulla Sharks, North Queensland Cowboys and Wests Tigers. Photo: Canberra Raiders.

But there needs to be greater awareness of women’s rugby league if the code is to attract young sportswomen who now have a range of opportunities with many sports offering a semi-professional standing.

There’s no better way to showcase the code to the ACT and beyond than with the Women’s State of Origin on Friday night in Canberra.

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By night’s end, the hope for the Raiders is that young women walk out of the stadium with dreams of becoming the next Millie Boyle or Kezie Apps.

It could be a breakthrough moment given the lack of coverage of the Women’s NRL, aside from the one-off Origin games, which will be increased to two next year.

From the Raiders’ perspective, they hope it leads undecided players to look for a future in league.

For tickets and gameday info, visit Ticketek.

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