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Sergis shooting for fourth trophy in 2022

Harvey Norman Sky Blues centre Jess Sergis fondly remembers her junior days with the Coogee-Randwick Wombats, where nearly everyone associated with the weekend game was a woman.

“Our whole club was run by the women – and that went from the canteen to the managers to the people who put up the corner posts and signs around the field,” Sergis told for the NRL’s annual ‘Women in League’ Round.

“It’s a great opportunity for all of us to get acknowledged – not just for the women’s game but for Rugby League in general.

“I know how much women do behind the scenes.”

The Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership finished up two weeks ago with Sergis’ Wests Tigers winning a nail-biter 21-20 over the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.

Now NSW’s top players are in pre-season with their NRLW clubs waiting for the 2022 competition to start on 20 August.

Sergis has the chance to win back-to-back NRLW Premiership rings after her Sydney Roosters beat the St George Illawarra Dragons 16-4 in the 2021 Grand Final in April.

Couple that with a 20-14 State of Origin win over Queensland in June and Sergis has three trophies already in her cabinet, with the potential for a fourth on 2 October – NRLW Grand Final day.

“The women’s game is really at its peak at the moment and I’m just riding that wave,” she said.

“It does feel like one thing after another but that’s the best thing because you keep your focus on the game and the more you play, the better you become.”

Club and state football give way to the IRL (International Rugby League) Women’s World Cup in November in the UK with Jillaroos coach Brad Donald naming a 24-player squad on 3 October.

Donald has seen the metamorphosis the women’s game has gone through.

“We go back just a couple of years and the national program was the program,” he said.

“We had contact with the players every week.

“But now the great thing is players have state clubs and NRLW clubs, which is awesome because these girls are paving the way to becoming professional athletes just like the men.

“If ever you’re going to feel like you’re a professional athlete it’s going to be 2022.”

Donald remembers what the 2017 World Cup win by the Jillaroos over New Zealand did in terms of exposure.

“Basically, it was the catalyst for women’s Rugby League,” Donald said.

“The final was on December 2 and by December 5 we were sitting in Rugby League Central at Moore Park working out how we couldn’t go another year without a NRLW competition.”

From four clubs in 2018 to six in 2021 to 10 in 2023 and Donald said that expansion combined with the World Cup will see the women’s game develop exponentially again.

“This year there’ll be a huge desire for a number of players attending the World Cup to want to pull on a NRLW jersey because it’s going to end up being the premier competition pretty quickly,” he said.

“We’ve seen one of the French players play for the Warriors in the Women’s Nines, so I expect more players from England and other countries wanting to come here and play.”

Sergis says she can’t wait for the chance to play for the Jillaroos again.

“The end goal for me this year is to represent Australia,” she said.

“I’ve never got to play in a World Cup before so this will be a first for me – if I get picked… fingers crossed.”

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.