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Something really good is happening in the Menai Roosters neighbourhood.

The Junior Rugby League Football Club’s executive committee is 75 per cent women.

This dedicated band of mainly mothers gave up time on Mothers’ Day to do their usual duties as the club hosted its round of home games.

It’s not as if the Menai Roosters set out to strike a blow for women’s rights in Rugby League, the female movement just grew organically within the club – as it has grown across the sport.

“It started a few years ago with two women – Jodie Hendley and Sonia Cooper – who were on the committee as secretary, registrar, senior vice-president, events co-ordinator,” said committee member Liz McDuff.

“They were the two that really got more women involved behind the scenes.

“My son joined the Under-6s in 2014 and I became friends with both women and I was happy to go on the committee ... others followed.”

McDuff is now senior vice-president, as well as social and events co-ordinator.

“Women became involved because we were able to show them how beneficial it was to have more mums helping out on the committee,” she said.

L-R: Jodie Hendley, Donna Curtis, Sonia Cooper
L-R: Jodie Hendley, Donna Curtis, Sonia Cooper

“It means these new generations of kids coming through get to see women running a footy club and don’t think it’s in any way strange.

“The dads are still involved, but now with mums on the committee the entire family comes to home-game days and it’s a really fun family day. It’s a great vibe that we’ve got going on."

So what is the secret to girl power at the club?

“Rugby League is so family-orientated now and so inclusive of everybody. It’s no longer just for the dads – it’s now for the mums and daughters, aunties and grandmas as well,” McDuff said.

“Girls don’t just play netball anymore – they can play footy and their mums can cook a barbeque.

“We’ve even got some of our girls dressing up in our Rocky the Rooster club mascot and running out with the boys teams. The girls are so involved now – they help with the scoring and water runs.”

There is over 100 registered players and volunteers for the club that first fielded teams in 1984.

“We are only a small club but we’re rebuilding-refurbishing ourselves; we’re on the way up and we’ve very family-orientated," McDuff said.

“It’s coming up to our 40th birthday so we want to get our Life Members back involved.”

“We are trying to build up the girls side of the sport to more of them involved.”

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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.

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