Cronulla leading way towards women’s NRL

Jillaroos skipper Ruan Sims believes that a professional women’s NRL is becoming a solid prospect in the near future, thanks in part to work done by the Cronulla Sharks.

Cronulla are set to field one of the teams in a women’s Nines game taking place at Southern Cross Group Stadium before the Sharks v Roosters NRL match on August 27.

The Sharks have invited players to try out for the team, and Sims believes it could lead to much greater development over the next few years.

“We’d love to see within five years an NRL competition for women and that’s a much closer initiative because the Sharks have already started pushing from their end,” Sims, older sister of Warrington star Ashton Sims, told NRL.com.

“What the Sharks are doing [implementing a women’s Nines team], I’d love all the other NRL clubs to take that on board and then all the NRL and NSW Rugby League have to do is worry about managing the competition as opposed to getting teams up and running and getting them moving.

“I’d love to see clubs getting involved, taking on the mould that we’ve got at the Sharks then building a little Nines team then hopefully making them a really big part of the NRL competition as a whole and a valuable asset to every club.”

Canterbury Bulldogs CEO Raelene Castle is currently focusing on driving an increase in women’s teams. from junior to senior levels.

Castle outlined how the work is progressing, and feels that women playing curtain raisers to men’s NRL games could ba way of raising the profile of the women’s sport.

“We’ve got a junior rugby league competition so we go from under-4s right up to the NRL team and we’ve got 18 new female teams playing in junior rugby league competitions right across the Canterbury-Bankstown area,” Castle said.

“There’s been pressure in that junior rugby league space to have a female competition and young girls being able to play the sport, make it their sport of choice so as we see that grow there’s absolutely no reason we can’t see curtain raisers with two female teams playing curtain raisers before [NRL games], why not.”

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