As the National Rugby League celebrates its annual Harvey Norman Women in League Round for 2022, the 16 clubs of the Telstra Premiership highlight the special women and men who have made a difference for women's rugby league across the game.
Ali Brigginshaw, NRLW captain
As the captain of Australia, Queensland and the Brisbane Broncos, Ali Brigginshaw is an icon of our game and continues to pave the way for young boys and girls to Rugby League. Ali embodies what it means to be a Bronco, she is born leader and role model and has inspired the next generation of incredible athletes, some of which have joined the Broncos in 2022. She continues to put in hard work, both on and off the field and works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in the Beyond the Broncos Program, inspiring them to be their very best too.
Diane Langmack, GM Stakeholder Engagement
Diane Langmack was an influential in advocating for the introduction of Women in League Round. Together with the Penrith Panthers and Katie Paige (Harvey Norman), they were able to launch the themed round in 2006. Diane recently joined the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in 2021 as General Manager, Stakeholder Engagement. Diane’s strength and resilience to beat cancer multiple times has helped provide valuable experience for her to inspire others around her to overcome life’s challenges. Diane’s strong family values emanate throughout the club, bringing together players, staff and families. Focused on paying-it-forward, Dianne’s life is devoted to giving back to others.
North Queensland Cowboys
Tandia Wood, Sports Science Analyst
Tandia manages the sports science at the Cowboys, analysing all the performance data to manage, plan and monitor training load and match load across all levels of Cowboys athletes. Known around the football group for her infectious smile and always-positive attitude, with the Cowboys set to enter the 2023 NRLW competition, opportunities to develop and grow the next generation of elite female rugby league players is something that excites Tandia.
St. George Illawarra Dragons
Stacey Drury, Illawarra Rugby League Representative
Stacey has been at the Illawarra Rugby League for nine years and looks after all things footy in the Illawarra, whether that be the junior and senior competitions or the Illawarra Steelers representative teams.
Kate Parkinson, NRLW Team Manager
Kate began her relationship with the Eels and rugby league as a Game Development Officer in Western Sydney and since that time she has progressed her career to being the NSW Female Participation Coordinator and the inaugural Eels NRLW Team Manager. What makes her proud of rugby league is the opportunity a boy has in rugby league is equally available for girls and women.
Women in League profile: Canberra Raiders
Kate Gallegos, Sponsorship Manager
Kate has been a valuable part of the Raiders family for over 15 years, with her continued contribution to the club’s off-field success evident by the long-term relationships she’s forged with the club's key corporate partners and stakeholders. Kate is also an outstanding role model for the next generation of young women working within the club and is always available to offer advice and guidance.
Holly Fude, Wellbeing Officer
Holly plays an integral and proactive part in facilitating the wellbeing program at the Newcastle Knights. With over 10 years of experience in the Rugby League world, Holly plays her part by educating and developing elite female athletes to better understand the internal and external factors which influence their game.
Kylie Fitzpatrick, Panthers Juniors team
With a passion for participation and the growth of Rugby League at the forefront of everything she does Kylie has fostered and nurtured community based rugby league programs, including female based competitions for the past three years. Another key role has been to provide governance and education tools for 24 junior league clubs and to develop engagement strategies for the growth of female participation in Western Sydney. Kylie also provides continues support for all 24 clubs during pre and post season, ensuring the volunteers on the ground are looked after and have the full support of Panthers Juniors.
Women in League profile: Alice Sharples
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Alice Sharples, Nutritionist
Alice Sharples leads the NRL and Black Rabbits nutrition programs at the South Sydney Rabbitohs. She has previously led nutrition programs at the NZ Warriors, Counties Manukau Rugby Union, Auckland Women's Rugby Union and China Women's Rugby 7s Olympic Programme. Alice is also currently completing a PhD through the University of Technology Sydney, looking into the Relationship Between Nutrition and Sleep in Elite Rugby League Players. She has previously completed a Masters of Science (distinction) in Sports Nutrition from The University of Stirling, the prestigious International Olympic Committee Diploma in Sports Nutrition, and a Bachelor of applied science in Sports Nutrition from The University of Otago.
Blake Cavallaro, Tarsha Gale Coach
Blake Cavallaro is the Head Coach of the Sydney Roosters Tarsha Gale Cup side (Sydney Roosters Indigenous Academy) which went through the competition to claim the title undefeated. Blake was also the Head Coach of the NSW Under 19s Women’s side which scored a comprehensive 22-6 win against Queensland in June this year. Blake is passionate about developing the next generation of NRLW stars and creating more opportunities for female players with the ultimate goal of ensuring their growth, not only as athletes, but also as people.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Samantha Redman, NRL Game Development Officer
Sam has four years working in and around the Northern Beaches as an NRL Game Development Officer and now moved to the Central Coast to continue her work in this region. Sam has done incredible work in assisting local primary schools host Female League Tag Gala Days and growing female participation in school across the Northern Beaches. Her passion is to increase the grassroots participation especially with female participation and to help female school students have a pathway to play rugby league for their local rugby league club. Sam enjoys making a positive difference to children with delivering school programs and seeing them have fun and increase their confidence learning new skills and making new friends.
Tony Herman, Harvey Norman Women's Coach
Tony has played his part in driving equality and opening up greater opportunities for female rugby league players in the Sutherland Shire. Tony has coached the Sharks Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership team for the past two seasons, the team were narrowly beaten in the 2022 Grand Final. Tony’s passion for women’s rugby league, has helped nurture and encourage the next crop of talented female players at the Sharks, while furthering the development of the senior players within the squad. Tony is a dedicated father of daughters who have played the non-contact version of the game, with one now transitioning into tackle rugby league as a member of the under-17 Sharks Lisa Fiaola Cup team.
Women in League Profile: Maddie Studdon
Jillian McRoberts, Rugby League Referee
Jillian has played her part through being an active Referee in the community for over 15 seasons. In 2019, she became first female to referee a senior men’s Grand Final in the Victorian competition. As an accredited Referee coach, she voluntarily and actively supports and mentors other junior female and male referees. She has also paved the way for females to be accepted as referees in the community and continues to contribute on and off the field in fantastic spirit.
Jessica Schwartz, Harvey Norman Women's Team Manager
Jess Schwartz is the very respected Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership Team Manager. Jess is like a mother, a sister and friend to the whole squad and epitomises the Wests Tigers way with her dedication, hard work and effort in making a great environment for all players to perform at their best. Jess has been involved in rugby league for many years and is an advocate for females in rugby league as players, coaches, and administrators. In 2022, Jess ensured the smooth operation of the season under very trying circumstances due to changes in coaching staff, the impact of COVID and the wet weather, however, was rewarded as part of the 2022 Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership team.
Gold Coast Titans
Karyn Murphy, Director of Female Rugby League
Considered the GOAT of women’s rugby league by many, The former Jillaroos captain had a playing career spanning 15 years that included four World Cup campaigns, 27 games for Australia and 20 games for Queensland. Karyn Murphy is the Titans’ first ever Director of Female Rugby League. The newly created full-time position will see Murphy coach the Titans NRLW team, with the role also focussed year-round on developing the women’s game within the Titans catchment from the Gold Coast and out into the catchment from Logan and Lismore.
Charlotte Scanlan, Warriors Community Foundation
Charlotte is the Warriors Community Foundation’s community programmes coordinator. She has played international rugby league (Kiwi Ferns) and rugby union (Black Ferns). First a Kiwi Fern in 2013, her most recent Test appearance was against Mate Ma’a Tonga at Mount Smart Stadium on June 25. She played for the Newcastle Knights in the 2021 NRLW. She coordinates and facilitates events and programmes for the Warriors Community Foundation using the Warriors’ brand as the vehicle to inspire our tamariki. Through her football career in both rugby league and rugby union plus previous employment, she has had plenty of opportunities to engage with the public. Charlotte enjoys the diversity and prides herself in having the ability to build a rapport with a variety of ethnicities and cultural backgrounds.