Auckland Rugby League (ARL) hope to encourage more girls to participate in the game, after successfully hosting the Women In League tournament in Auckland. Many of the Kiwi Ferns squad also turned out for their clubs.
The tournament in its second year has received support from the wider community, which in turn has seen numbers increase.
Kiwi Ferns stand-off Georgia Hale says, “Credit to ladies, it takes a lot to take the field. The physicality of the game, and for women and young girls to take the field.”
“We've got a pretty good support base. They travel everywhere for us, especially our partners, our husbands,” says current Kiwi Ferns captain Sarina Clark (nee Fiso).
For the first time this year, organisers have also included the Under-15’s and Under-17’s age grade teams.
“We had the 17's girls playing before, and man, they had a lot of supporters down here, so it's wicked, [and] it's cool,” says Richmond Rovers winger Madison Bartlett.
Bartlett is also a member of the Kiwi Ferns and is currently nursing a collarbone injury she picked up last month.
More than 200 women turned out to play which included powerhouses Richmond Rovers, and the Marlins from Manurewa who both turned out in the feature match of the day. ARL believe these numbers will grow.
"It's still a great turnout, we'll hopefully have more in the future. I'm sure we will, and I'm pretty sure we're gonna get a lot more coming through," says ARL communications manager Talei Anderson.
The ARL recently announced that the Manurewa Marlins will take on the Marist Saints this Friday night at Mount Smart Stadium as a curtain raiser to the Warriors Under-20s game against the Penrith Panthers.