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Womens RLWC Australia vs England at Southern Cross group Stadium  .Picture : NRL Photos / Gregg Porteous

It took the better part of 20 minutes for Jillaroos co-captain Ruan Sims to walk halfway across the concourse of Southern Cross Group Stadium.

Fans young and old, male and female, all wanted to get a photo or an autograph from Sims, and she was more than happy to accommodate every request.

Countless groups of young children – particularly young girls – sat in the seats and on the grass in front of the Monty Porter Stand to watch on a team of women they can call their heroes now that the women’s game is on centre stage for all to see.  

There are advertisements on bus shelters and billboards all across Sydney promoting the Women’s Rugby League World Cup, highlighting the exponential growth of the fastest-growing aspect within Rugby League.

“The crowd that came out to support our game was phenomenal this afternoon,” Sims says as she walks through the stadium to the sounds of cheers from whomever she passes.

“A lot of the young girls and even young boys are recognising us and really enjoying the women’s game.

“I think that just shows how much growth the game has had and the impact that the women’s game is having on Rugby League as a whole.”