NRL 'catching up' after announcing new women's competition

BRIGHT PROSPECT: Brothers leaguetag star Gab Suckling is hoping to be involved in the new NRL women's competition in 2018 which was announced this week. Picture: Laura Hardwick
BRIGHT PROSPECT: Brothers leaguetag star Gab Suckling is hoping to be involved in the new NRL women's competition in 2018 which was announced this week. Picture: Laura Hardwick

Gab Suckling is hoping she can make the most of the NRL’s decision to expand women’s rugby league.

This week the NRL announced they are introducing a women’s competition in 2018, which will have at least six teams.

The competition is set to be played at the same time as the NRL finals.

Suckling, who has grown up playing touch football and leaguetag, is excited for what lies ahead for women in rugby league.

“It is very exciting,” Suckling said.

“Girls finally have something to look forward to. It is not just touch or leaguetag.”

Suckling played rugby league with the Canberra Raiders and Yass last season as well as kicking the winning field goal in another Brothers leaguetag premiership in Group Nine.

Brothers coach Craig Stewart thought the skills in league had taken her game to a whole new level.

The 20-year-old believes it is about time rugby league starts to catch up with other national competitions.

“It is catching up,” Suckling said. “With the Matildas, sevens and what the AFL did with the girls last year it is a step in the right direction.

“It is about time they finally did something as there is so many girls out there who want to play.”

She is hoping to be involved.

“It would be a dream for me to play rugby league, but it depends on how it all goes,” she said.

Women’s nines tournaments have been played across the Riverina this year.

Wagga held a carnival a fortnight ago and there is another event at Yanco on the weekend.

Kangaroos hosted the event in Wagga with organiser Gabe Knight admitted the team was a real mix of experiences.

While there was a few leaguetag players from the club, players from other Group Nine clubs and girls from a rugby sevens background all came together.

Knight said they were looking for a different challenge.

“We’ve been playing leaguetag for six or so years now and wanted to step it up a little bit more,” Knight said.

“We wanted to try with the contact.”

Leaguetag has gone from strength to strength since its introduction in the Group Nine and the move into women’s league is not expected to change its position in the competition.

Participation numbers lead that decision.

Tackling is the only difference between the two games, but league is the game Suckling prefers.

“Leaguetag is a bit similar as it is practically the same set up but without the contact, but I prefer rugby league,” she said.

“I really enjoy it.”