Big news: Women's rugby league will be on your tv this weekend.

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.

Ruan Sims is a star player for the Jillaroos. Image supplied. Credit: NRL Photos.

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.


Read more: This is what life is like when you’re a professional rugby player.

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.

Stephanie Hancock showing women are as tough as men. Image supplied. Credit: NRL photos.

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.

You don’t want to miss the women in action.

What about women’s sport in general?

RS: When you look at what’s happened with the ABC – the first thing to go was women’s sport. The ABC – that’s so supportive of women’s sport. So now, you’ve got channel 9 all of a sudden at 1:40 on a Sunday afternoon. I’m so excited about it, it’s such an exciting prospect – anybody can view it. Any Joe Blow on the street who’s probably never seen a women’s team but loves his footy and hasn’t seen women play before. And it’s a good game too. There’s big hits in the game good tries scored and good play.

I am so excited that we get such an amazing platform. I’ve got to give credit to the NRL who pushed for us to play right before the men, as a curtain raiser.

Read more: They’ve won seven consecutive world cup events. But we bet you’ve never heard of them…

What would be your advice for aspiring young women who want to play rugby for Australia?

RS: So much. I have so much advice. I’d love to put my head on their young bodies and say let’s go let’s do this together.

But my best advice: to not give up on anything. Don’t give up, if you set your mind on a task do anything and everything to get that task done. Do whatever it takes to get there. I’ve had a long career, lots of ups and lots of downs but I never gave up. If I had’ve I wouldn’t be here talking to you today. Be single minded to a point, to achieve your task.


In more sporting news this week…

Football Australia is going to bid to host the Women’s FIFA World Cup as early as 2023. Hosting a women’s tournament on such a grand scale will do huge things for the women’s game and sport on an international level. It’s really positive news for women’s soccer and influencing future generations.

– The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC)’s Vice President, Helen Borwnlee has been awarded the Olympic Order. She received the award for her dedication to upholding Olympic values and for her immense contribution to world sport. It’s a huge achievement for the Australian sportswoman. 

– Jess Trengove, a South Australian marathon runner has smashed her personal best (PB) result in a 10, 000 metre race while racing in California, US this week. It was the best performance of her career so far – she cut a huge 50 seconds of her previous PB. The 27-year-old ran the marathon in 32 minutes and 17 seconds. She finished in fifth place at the Payton Jordan Invitational last Sunday. Congratulations to Trengove.

– Former surfing world champion, Australian Stephanie Gilmore has had to pull put of the Rio Pro in Brazil next week. She was forced to pull out at the Margaret River Pro last month after she injured her knee while surfing on a free day. It will be a big knock back for defending her title. 

What sport have you playing or watching this week?