To expand female-focused initiatives.

NSW Rugby League (NSWRL) and Queensland Rugby League (QRL) have jointly announced Harvey Norman as the first major sponsor of women’s Rugby League for further developing the state pathways and talent pool for expansion of the women’s game.

The partnership with Harvey Norman includes naming rights of the NSW and Queensland women’s Interstate Challenge teams (July 23 match); NSW City Origin team (13 May match); NSWRL Open Women’s Conference (starting 22 April); NSWRL Women’s Premiership (starting 29 April); female-only coaching clinics; and grassroots female carnivals and programs in both states.

The partnership would also help the QRL expand their Queensland Academy of Sport Girls program (introduced earlier this year for Under-15 girls) and ensure Under-14 and Under-16 girls continued to be given the opportunity to experience representative football at State Junior Carnivals, among other female-focused initiatives. 

Harvey Norman CEO Katie Page said, “Harvey Norman is committed to supporting the development of female player pathways at all levels of Rugby League. This announcement ensures girls from NSW and Queensland can chart their Rugby League playing future, if their talent and commitment permits, all the way through to representative competition. 

“Both the NSWRL and the QRL understand the need for consistent opportunities for skill development and new competitive challenges for girls at every age. The next generation of female players, those coming through these newly formed ranks, will take Women’s Rugby League to the next level.”

Until recently in NSW, there had been a longstanding gap between mixed junior leagues and open-aged competitions, with girls being able to play Junior Rugby League competition with boys until the age of 12 and limited and inconsistent opportunities to return to competition until the age of 17 in the open division.