Joseph Suallii should not be playing in the NRL until he turns 18

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

On Monday, the NRL announced that the Roosters have been granted special dispensation to allow 17-year-old Joseph Suaalii to play in their first-grade team, despite the existing rule in place that requires players to turn 18 before they are eligible.

On Tuesday, NRL CEO Andrew Abdo made a comment that such an exemption would be “very rare”.

I have no doubt that those charged with making the decision about Suaalii’s inclusion did their due diligence; in fact, my understanding is that Suaalii has been observed over a long period of time.

Women’s game strong but expansion and more female leaders needed

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This week the world marked International Women’s Day and in sport there was plenty of celebration about how far the dial has turned when it comes to women in sport.

In my view, rugby league as a game has plenty to be proud of and the time is right for the NRLW to expand in terms of number of matches and hopefully the amount of teams in the near future.

No easy solution to cheerleaders debate

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The phasing out of NRL cheerleaders comes at a time when women have never been more welcome in the game.

The rise of women’s rugby league – culminating in the NRLW competition and standalone State of Origin matches – has added a rich new chapter to the sport in recent years.

I want more for the NRLW in 2021

This post was first written for and published by the Roar

In what was an exceptionally difficult year for all of us, the NRL managed admirably in 2020.

Not only was the NRL the first Australian domestic sporting competition to return to screens during COVID-19 (thanks Peter V’landys), but in a year when there was significant pressure to reduce spending and potentially a temptation to cut costs across women’s sport, the NRL reaffirmed its commitment to the NRLW.

Holli Wheeler: how a ruptured ACL taught her patience

This post was first written for and published by Siren Sport.

Holli Wheeler is just a couple of weeks away from making a full recovery from a ruptured ACL—an injury she sustained whilst competing for the St George Illawarra Dragons at the New Zealand Nines almost a year ago.

After a 12-month recovery, Wheeler is itching to get back into the contact side of footy and hopes to be representing the North Sydney Bears for round one of the Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership when it commences later this year.

“I’m nearly there, I’m so close I can taste it,” said Wheeler.

“I can’t explain how much I’m enjoying warming up with my teammates again. I laugh the whole way through the warm-up and maybe some people think I’m not taking my footy too seriously, but I’m just stoked to be there.”

This ruptured ACL was Wheeler’s first serious injury. It was also the first time that Wheeler couldn’t just push through the pain; she had to succumb to it.

“I’ve had injuries where you can just push yourself to finish the game, or push through the week and manage it by biting down on your mouthguard and just pushing through,” said Wheeler.

“But with this injury, I couldn’t do that. It has taught me so much about patience, about how my body works and about how important my knees are. I’m never taking that for granted again.”

Rivalries, questions and criticism: Proof the women’s game is here to stay

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The increased questioning of tactics, fostering of rivalries and justified criticism of player performances in 2020 has provided an important step in the evolution of women’s rugby league.

A year that started with a global pandemic will end with Friday night’s Harvey Norman Women’s State of Origin match at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

Ward’s secret weapon could kick Broncos to three-peat

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With the Telstra Women’s Premiership Grand Final between the Brisbane Broncos and Sydney Roosters expected to be a nail biter, every point matters.

Fortunately for the Broncos, the kicking prowess of the women’s game’s most accurate first-choice kicker, centre Meg Ward, may prove to be the difference.

Ward’s hard work this season on fine-tuning her kicking, particularly conversions, has been boosted by a secret weapon – her dad, Warwick.

“I had about a three-week pre-season with the Broncos and during that time I couldn’t work,” said Ward.

Arthur on the rocks? Brad’s still right coach to bring Eels elusive title

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Parramatta’s semi-final loss brought back that familiar sense of melancholy for Eels fans but we can’t forget how far the club has come in the past four years.

Now it’s time to take it to the next level.

The knives are already out for Brad Arthur, suggesting he is not the coach to lead Parramatta to that long-awaited first premiership since 1986.