The Australian Women’s rugby league team will be on free-to-air TV this weekend.
The Australian Women’s rugby league team, the Jillaroos (now known as the Harvery Norman Jillaroos) will be on free-to-air TV this Sunday in a huge leap forward for women’s rugby and women’s sport in Australia.
It comes just after Harvey Norman announced their partnership to be naming rights sponsors for the Jillaroos over the next three years. It’s a strong commercial connection for the women’s rugby league team. Hopefully the new TV coverage will mean more funding opportunities for the women’s competition.
On Sunday (tomorrow) at 1:40pm make sure you have your TV set to channel nine because the Jillaroos match against New Zealand will be broadcast. The game will be a curtain raiser to the men’s game later in the day when the Eels take on the Storm.
I was lucky enough to speak to Jillaroos star player, Ruan Sims about why she got in to rugby, and what the free-to-air coverage will do for the women’s team..
For more on women’s rugby league: Why women’s rugby league is making history.
What got you in to rugby league?
RS: I came from Gerringong which is a big rugby town. I started in Rugby Union and changed to Rugby League at the end of 2012. I got picked up and haven’t looked back since and I’ve loved it .
What do you love about the sport?
RS: There’s a lot to love about it – comradery, the team environment, the quality people. It’s fantastic because you become good mates with everyone you play with.
What’s it like being a woman in rugby league?
RS: I quite enjoy it. I haven’t encountered overly negative responses. There’s always a few surprised looks when you tell people you play a contact sport. I think the more exposure we receive then the more widely and favourably it’ll be received in public. As with anything, the fear and judgement come from the unknown. People don’t know how or what we play.
The exposure and support the NRL [national rugby league] give us has been really positive. I’ve been really enjoying it. We’ve had great reviews.
What benefits will your team get from the new Harvey Norman partnership?
RS: Harvey Norman is a wide world known brand and a really strong brand in Australia. As a commercial brand, it’s huge. Putting their name with us means they know we’ve got something to offer their business and the general public. You can’t pay for that type of support and confidence.
Your game on Sunday is being aired on free-to-air TV. This is amazing. What does it mean for women’s rugby league?
RS: That’s a massive step forward. I don’t know for sure – I’ve played for Australia in Rugby Union and the Rugby 7s and this is the first time we’ve ever been on free-to-air in a decent time slot. That speaks volumes for the level of football we’re playing. You’ve got a sponsor like Harvey Norman on board and a prime slot on free-to-air TV. It pushes us in to the spotlight just before Sunday footy. People will have their TVs on before the men’s game. There’ll be access to our game without having to log on to the internet or needing Foxtel. It can be beamed in to every living room in Australia. It’s huge for us to get more funding too.