Rugby league is a contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players each. It is one of the most popular sports in the world, with millions of fans and players worldwide. While the sport has traditionally been dominated by men, women’s rugby league has been steadily growing in popularity over the past few years. In this article, we will explore the world of women’s rugby league, including its history, rules, and the current state of the game.
History of Women’s Rugby League
Women’s rugby league has been around for almost as long as the men’s game, with the first recorded women’s rugby match taking place in 1887 in Scotland. However, it was not until the 1980s that women’s rugby league started to gain real momentum. In 1985, the Women’s Rugby League Association was formed in the UK, and the first international women’s rugby league match was played in 1988 between England and France.
Since then, women’s rugby league has continued to grow, with more countries and teams joining the sport every year. In 2017, the Women’s Rugby League World Cup was held in Australia, with the Australian team winning the tournament.
Rules of Women’s Rugby League
The rules of women’s rugby league are the same as the men’s game, with some minor differences. The game is played on a rectangular field with a length of 100 meters and a width of 68 meters. The aim of the game is to score points by carrying or kicking the ball over the opposing team’s goal line.
Each team is made up of thirteen players, with four substitutes allowed on the bench. The game is divided into two 40-minute halves, with a 10-minute break in between.
One of the key differences between men’s and women’s rugby league is the level of physical contact allowed. While the men’s game is known for its hard hits and tackles, the level of physicality in women’s rugby league is slightly less intense. However, this does not mean that the game is any less exciting or competitive.
Current State of Women’s Rugby League
Women’s rugby league is currently experiencing a period of rapid growth, with more and more players and teams joining the sport every year. The sport is particularly popular in Australia and New Zealand, where there are professional women’s rugby league teams and a strong grassroots movement.
In 2021, the Women’s State of Origin game between New South Wales and Queensland in Australia set a new record for the largest-ever crowd at a women’s domestic rugby league match, with over 7,000 fans in attendance.
Women’s rugby league is also gaining recognition at the international level, with more countries joining the sport every year. The 2021 Rugby League World Cup, which was due to be held in England, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but plans are in place to hold the tournament in 2022.
Benefits of Women’s Rugby League
Women’s rugby league not only provides an exciting sport for players and fans alike, but it also has several benefits for women’s health and well-being. Rugby league is a physically demanding sport that requires players to be strong, agile, and fit. Playing the sport regularly can help women to build muscle strength, improve cardiovascular fitness, and maintain a healthy body weight.
Rugby league also provides opportunities for social interaction, team building, and leadership development. Playing the sport can help women to build strong relationships with their teammates, develop their communication and leadership skills, and improve their confidence and self-esteem.
Challenges Facing Women’s Rugby League
While women’s rugby league is growing in popularity, the sport still faces several challenges. One of the main challenges is the lack of funding and resources compared to the men’s game. Many women’s teams struggle to secure funding for equipment, facilities, and coaching, which can make it difficult to develop and grow the sport.
Another challenge facing women’s rugby league is the lack of media coverage and exposure. While major men’s rugby league events and tournaments receive extensive coverage, women’s rugby league is often overlooked by mainstream media outlets. This can make it difficult for the sport to attract new fans and sponsors.
Efforts to Promote Women’s Rugby League
Despite the challenges facing women’s rugby league, there are many organizations and individuals working to promote and develop the sport. One of the key players in this effort is the Rugby League International Federation, which is working to increase the visibility and recognition of women’s rugby league at the international level.
In addition, many national and local organizations are working to promote women’s rugby league through initiatives such as coaching clinics, development programs, and grassroots campaigns. These efforts are helping to increase the number of women playing rugby league and to raise awareness of the sport among fans and media outlets.
Famous Women’s Rugby League Players
There have been many great players in the history of women’s rugby league, but perhaps the most famous is Australian player Ruan Sims. Sims played for the Australian women’s rugby league team from 2011 to 2018, and is widely regarded as one of the best players in the world.
Other famous players include New Zealand’s Honey Hireme, who has scored over 100 tries in her career, and England’s Emily Rudge, who led her team to victory in the 2019 Women’s Super League Grand Final.
Women’s rugby league is a fast-growing and exciting sport that is gaining popularity all over the world. With more and more players and teams joining the sport every year, the future looks bright for women’s rugby league. Whether you are a seasoned rugby fan or a newcomer to the sport, women’s rugby league is definitely worth checking out.
How is women’s rugby league different from men’s rugby league? While the basic rules of women’s and men’s rugby league are the same, there are some differences in the way the game is played. For example, women’s rugby league games are typically shorter than men’s games, with each half lasting 35-40 minutes compared to 40-45 minutes for men’s games. Women’s rugby league also has some differences in terms of player eligibility and contact rules.
How popular is women’s rugby league? Women’s rugby league is growing in popularity around the world, with increasing numbers of women taking up the sport and more media coverage of major events. The Rugby League World Cup, which includes both men’s and women’s competitions, attracts a large audience of fans and supporters.
What are the benefits of playing women’s rugby league? Playing women’s rugby league can have several benefits for women’s health and well-being. The sport provides a full-body workout that can help to build muscle strength, improve cardiovascular fitness, and maintain a healthy body weight. Rugby league can also help to develop leadership, teamwork, and communication skills, as well as build confidence and self-esteem.
Is women’s rugby league safe? While rugby league is a contact sport and carries some risk of injury, steps are taken to ensure that the game is played as safely as possible. Players are required to wear protective equipment such as helmets and pads, and there are rules in place to minimize the risk of dangerous tackles or collisions.
How can I get involved in women’s rugby league? If you are interested in playing women’s rugby league, you can contact your local rugby league club or national organization to find out about opportunities for training, games, and competitions. Many organizations offer development programs for women of all ages and skill levels, so don’t be afraid to get in touch and get involved.