Let’s cut the NRL some slack

This article was written by Natalie Akle. 

Yet again the media has persecuted an elite list of players during this year’s rugby league season, maintaining the stereotypical stigma of Australian NRL players.

As the news tabloids shift their attention to the next drama, we are all left wondering how will Greg Inglis bounce back after his alleged drink-driving charges? Will Sam Burgess be forgiven for his alleged sexting incident? Will the Bulldogs lose another sponsor after the Mad Monday coverage?

Why I signed up for Ocsober

A couple of months ago at a function I had the pleasure of meeting Kellie Sloane who is the CEO of Life Education. Plenty of you will be familiar with the work of Life Education. I most strongly associate the organisation with visits from ‘Healthy Harold’ during primary school and the subsequent education around making positive decisions not just about my own health, but also to help influence positive decision making amongst the people around me in relation to their own health.

New era begins for Jillaroos and Kiwi Ferns

This article was first written for NRL.com.

When it comes to rugby league, there really is no off-season.

With the NRL and NRLW competitions completed, this weekend international rugby league will be in the spotlight with the Kangaroos set to take on the Kiwis and the Jillaroos playing the Kiwi Ferns this Saturday in New Zealand.

Being inclusive is more than just a catchphrase

This article was first written and published for NRL.com

Sport is one of the most powerful forces on Earth – it has the capacity to bring people together in a way that almost nothing else can.

It’s been a remarkable year for the NRL. When I reflect on 2018 season I was reminded at almost every point of the season the NRL family is for everyone and one where everyone is welcome.

My top ten moments of the 2018 NRL season

This article was first written for and published for The Roar. 

With the Brisbane Broncos winning the women’s NRL Premiership by 34-12 over the Sydney Roosters and the Sydney Roosters being crowned Premiers in the men’s competition, the NRL season is now at a close for another year.

2018 was a year that personally, I’ll never forget particularly due to some of the amazing strides made in relation to women’s footy.

Here are some of my most significant moments from the year.

Will the Broncos or the Roosters be the first NRLW Premiers?

This article was first written and published for the Roar.

For so many people there is a tremendous sense of pride about what has been achieved in the first year of the inaugural NRL Women’s Premiership.

On Wednesday night at the Dally M Awards, former Australian Jillaroos captain and first ever women’s New South Wales Blues captain captivated the audience with a speech about how far the women’s game had come since she had played.

From an era where she spent her evenings at the pub tackling punters to buy raffle tickets so the women could afford to represent their country at a Rugby League World Cup, to a time where women now have the opportunity to represent the NRL teams they grew up watching as children is remarkable. It is all thanks to so many people – players, administrators, fans and advocates – that we have finally made it here.

NRLW final preview: a fitting capstone to a breakout year

This article was first written and published for The Guardian

The Women’s Premiership is another huge first as NRLW and the inaugural State of Origin cap a bumper 2018.

2018 will always be remembered as a breakout year for women’s rugby league.

It’s very hard to pick a standout moment so far. Was it the inaugural State of Origin game played in June at North Sydney Oval? Was it the first game in the NRL Women’s Premiership earlier this month between the Warriors and the Roosters?

Or is the standout moment yet to come on Sunday afternoon when the Roosters take on the Broncos in the first ever NRLW grand final?

Grand final week like a second Christmas for all NRL fans

This article was first written and published for NRL.com

I often tell people I get the opportunity to celebrate Christmas twice a year – once in December and once during NRL grand final week.

This week is the culmination of a season of hard work for two teams – the Sydney Roosters and the Melbourne Storm – with the ultimate symbol of success up for grabs on Sunday evening.

With so many other festivities during the week including the Dally M Awards, this is also the culmination of the season for all players and clubs.

Here’s to you, Mister Robinson

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

With their 12 points to four victory over the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night, the Sydney Roosters have booked their place in the 2018 NRL grand final.

This game was set up as a blockbuster from the outset. The final rugby league game ever at the Sydney Football Stadium. A rivalry almost as old as rugby league itself. And plenty of trash talk between the teams in the lead-up, particularly around one of the Bunnies’ key enforcers, Sam Burgess.