Introducing Bianca Santi – 21 year old referee destined for great things

Kellie Warner is an arts/law graduate now happily working as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared on Theatrepeople and CrowdInk. She is passionate about sport and lives on the Gold Coast. Find her on Twitter @kellkitten.

We all have those moments where our mothers do something that makes us cringe a little, even as we understand it was done out of love. Bianca Santi’s mum, Francene is so proud of her that she wanted people to know about her. Bianca trains with the Parramatta District Referees, was awarded the district junior rep of the year for 2015, is an NRL Development Officer and is also studying Occupational Therapy. Little wonder Francene wants to shout from the rooftops.

When I spoke with Bianca she admitted she hadn’t known her mother had contacted Ladies Who League, singing her praises. She explained with genuine warmth and some laughter that her first thought was, “here we go, what’s all this about?” But it is clear that Bianca gets it, stressing her mum is a huge support.

Women’s sport weekly wrap: Jillaroos crush Cook Islands

This story was first written for and published by The Roar.

The Women’s Rugby League World Cup has finally arrived, with the first three matches taking place yesterday.

With teams from Australia, Canada, the Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and England competing, there is representation from all over the rugby league-playing world.

We all know the significance of this World Cup – it is the first time the men and women’s tournaments have been played concurrently and the first time the Women’s Rugby League World Cup has been broadcast in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Women’s World Cup significant for many reasons

This story was first written for and published by NRL.com

Yesterday when the Kiwi Ferns and the Canada Ravens took the field at Southern Cross Group Stadium, they made history. Later on when the Australian Jillaroos played the Cook Islands Women’s team and the England Women’s team took on the Papua New Guinea Orchids, they also contributed to a day that will forever be marked in rugby league history – a day where the women’s game was put front and centre on the world stage.

This Women’s Rugby League World Cup is significant for so many reasons.

Jillaroos to watch at the World Cup

This article was first written for and published by NRL.com.

n just six sleeps time, the Australian Jillaroos will run out onto the field at Southern Cross Group Stadium to compete in their first 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup game against the Cook Islands.

The Jillaroos game will form part of a triple-header celebration of the women’s game which will also see the Kiwi Ferns play against the Canada Ravens and England play against the Papua New Guinea Orchids.

Ladies who League: Celebrating the mums

This story was first written for and published by NRL.com.

The women’s Rugby League World Cup begins in just 12 sleeps. This week I caught up with the number 1 fans of Kezie Apps, Maddie Studdon and Sammy Bremner – their mums Dawn, Jo-Anne and Maria.

Kezie Apps

‘Kezie has this aura – she brings out the best in people and I know she brings the best out in me. She is always smiling and I am so proud of her.’ – Dawn Apps (Kezie’s mum)

Four years ago, Kezie Apps found out that the Australian Jillaroos were competing in the Rugby League World Cup. It was the first time she had heard about the opportunity that women had to represent their country in footy.

From that moment, Kezie knew she wanted to be one of these women.

An athlete at heart, growing up Kezie played a number of sports including rugby league, OzTag, hockey and rugby union, but she always loved rugby league the most.

Why I’m excited about the World Cup

This article was first written for NRL.com

The countdown is officially over and today, the 2017 Rugby League World Cup begins.

The opening fixture is one of the most anticipated of the tournament with the Australian Kangaroos taking on England at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium tonight.

Ladies Who League: Season highlights

This article was first written for and published by NRL.com.

On Sunday night another remarkable NRL Telstra Premiership season ended with the Melbourne Storm defeating the North Queensland Cowboys 34-6 to be crowned 2017 Premiers.

It was one of the oddest grand finals I have ever had to tip. The only outcome I could not see happening was the Cowboys winning by plenty.

The Cowboys were the fairytale, but there did seem to be a sense of injustice if the Storm did not prevail – after all, they had been the best team all year.

Grand Final Day more than a game

This story was first written for and published by NRL.com

Rugby league family – this is it. We made it. On Sunday a spectacular season will conclude when the Melbourne Storm take on the North Queensland Cowboys in this year’s NRL Grand Final.

I have some fond (and some not so fond) memories of grand finals. What about 2015? I watched the stadium erupt when Johnathan Thurston kicked a golden-point field goal for to steal victory for his Cowboys from the Brisbane Broncos. Or last year when I heard Paul Gallen finally tell residents of the Shire to “turn your porch lights off, because we’re coming home with a trophy” as the Cronulla Sharks broke a 50-year premiership drought. What about 2001? Actually as a Parramatta Eels fan, let’s not talk about that. 

Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough People Do

This story was written by Melissa Muscat – Parramatta Eels member and Members Councillor 2017.

So here we are, season over…almost. It’s taken me this long to pen my thoughts after Parra’s finals exit to the Cowboys. I was shattered, like most loyal supporters. It took me till around the Thursday to feel half happy again, constantly asked by the teenage boys I work with ‘What happened to Parra?’ Ah, the youth of today.

It must be said that the Eels exceeded expectations of most this season. To finish in the top four with injuries to a couple of our best and missing from the finals for eight years, it was a pretty solid effort. However, to agree with Cameron King, it was also ‘a lost opportunity.’ So close, yet so far, as is the case for most footy teams in September though. At the end of the day, only two teams can be there on Grand Final Day. Hopefully it’s a motivating factor for the Parra boys next season.