History will be made tomorrow in the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership, with women’s Rugby League set to be played at ANZ Stadium for the first time ever.
Good Friday’s Round 2 clash between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, to be played as part of a double-header with the NRL fixture between the same teams, will be the first women’s Rugby League game contested at the venue which opened in 1998.
Last week an under junior representative girls Harvey Norman Tarsha Gale Cup clash between the Sydney Roosters and Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Allianz Stadium, also preceding an NRL fixture, attracted a crowd of more than 1,000.
And the number of women’s teams already registered to play across all age groups this season is already up 40 per cent on the same time last year, which includes the historic staging of the Penrith all-girls competitions for under 6 to under 12 age groups, starting 7 April.
Rabbitohs halfback Maddie Studdon and Bulldogs lock Elianna Walton have witnessed the growth of the women’s game, most recently representing the victorious Harvey Norman Jillaroos at the 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup.
The pair believe the scheduling of women’s games alongside NRL fixtures is indicative of its growing professionalism.
Maddie Studdon said: “Both of our teams, Souths and Bulldogs are going to be very excited and it’s quite overwhelming.
“It’s very exciting for our game, especially for the women’s game – we can’t wait to get out there and play before the men.
“It meant a lot to me to put the red and green on last weekend, I’ve always been a Souths juniors player and to finally get that jersey and run out on Redfern Oval was a very special moment for me.
“To be in the red and green was a privilege.”
Elianna Walton said: “It’s such a massive milestone for women’s Rugby League and NSW and the girls are excited about it.
“I don’t think they know how massive the stage is and the privilege that we’ve got to be there at that same point with the men as well.
“We need to put on the best show that we can for the crowd and the corporate sponsors out there and make sure that we put women’s Rugby League in a good light when we play against the Rabbitohs.
“I know they’re going to do the same too.”
Both the Bulldogs and Rabbitohs enjoyed big wins in the opening round of the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership, with Canterbury-Bankstown defeating the Cronulla-Caringbah Sharks 72-4 and South Sydney defeating CRL Newcastle 54-4.
The Rabbitohs took out the premiership in 2017 as the Redfern All Blacks, while the Bulldogs entered the competition for the first time in 2018.
The Rabbitohs and Bulldogs will clash at ANZ Stadium from 1.55pm tomorrow (30 March).