NSWRL chief executive David Trodden says a professional women’s rugby league competition will come to fruition soon.
Trodden said rugby league is taking a “strategic approach” in ensuring players from the age of six can continue right through to open age and professional competitions.
The comments come after NSW and Queensland women’s rugby league secured its first major sponsor in a bid to support young girls in reaching higher level competitions.
Until recently in NSW, there has been a longstanding gap between mixed junior leagues and open-aged competitions, with girls able to play junior competitions with boys until the age of 12 but then offered limited options to return until the age of 17 in the open division.
Rugby league is also playing catch-up with a number of other sports such as the AFL – after it started a semi-professional women’s competition this year and the likes of netball and cricket which have recently upped payments to women playing their codes.
But Trodden said rugby league needed more hard work and a constant flow of players to get to that point.
"Certainly it is the long-term goal of anyone in the game to have a women's professional league but I think strategically our view is we get to that point by making sure that the base of the pyramid is very firm," he told AAP on Wednesday.
"I think we will get to that point quite soon."
The partnership with retail company Harvey Norman will see an expansion of the Queensland Rugby League Academy of Sport girls program and will help ensure under-14 and under-16 girls continue to gain opportunities to experience representative football.
Harvey Norman chief executive Katie Page said the partnership will ensure girls "chart their rugby league playing future" 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," Page said in a statement on Wednesday.
"The next generation of female players, those coming through these newly formed ranks, will take women's rugby league to the next level."