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Female stars behind participation explosion on Central Coast

The rise in popularity of women’s Rugby League is seen as one of the reasons junior tackle and Monarch Blues Tag numbers have exploded on the NSW Central Coast.

In fact, there’s been a 94 per cent jump in growth in three years from 433 players in 2019 to 840 for season 2022. That’s made up of 384 junior tackle players and 456 in junior tag.

NSWRL Regional Manager Keith Onslow said the Harvey Norman Tarsha Gale, Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership and Harvey Norman NSW Sky Blues was helping raise the profile of the women’s game.

“There’s another 247 seniors on top of that who play tag so it’s 1,100 all up just on the Central Coast,” NSWRL Regional Manager Keith Onslow said.

“There’s no doubt that the women’s game is gaining more and more exposure with individual players coming into the spotlight.

“But we’re gaining in numbers because we’ve created a nice little niche for non-contact sport with the league tag. (Rugby League) clubs have continued to support that since day one.

“Tag is a great introduction to our game, and then a good progression to tackle.”

The senior league tag starts on April 2 and the juniors start April 23. There are nine senior and 16 junior clubs on the Central Coast.

While high-profile female Rugby League is one aspect of the growth in local club numbers, having the support network around players is another.

“There are some really good clubs on the Central Coast, who have really good environments in that they’re very supportive of the women’s game and the progressions in it – from tag to tackle,” Onslow said.

“These clubs are safe, fun, people are able to learn all the time, while keeping fit and healthy.

“The other thing has been game-day scheduling. We’re not putting the girls all on their own on a Friday night. They are part of the football club and part of the game-day experience.

“It means sisters-brothers, dads or mothers and daughters can play on the same day  - that’s really important.”


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