Women in League round to support those on and off the field
RUGBY LEAGUE: When Rockhampton Brothers' Hannah Burke steps onto Browne Park tomorrow, she will have the whole rugby league community behind her.
The 26-year-old will join teams from Rockhampton (Norths and Brothers), Yeppoon, Emu Park and Woorabinda for a Women In League round on Sunday.
The event will focus on not only supporting women on the field, but those off the field and behind the scenes as well.
"It will be a great weekend,” Burke said.
"I've been playing with Brothers since the start and I just love it.
"I've been a part of Brothers since I was a junior and I played in junior footy but there were not a lot of opportunities for women growing up.
"It's a great culture and it's great to be around the whole club because everyone is so supportive of women playing.”
Burke is a jill of all trades, able to fill positions across the field including half-back, full-back and centre.
"I am a coach for the Brothers junior rugby league and we have a lot of girls coming up and it's great to see we can inspire them to come up and play girls' rugby league,” she said.
"They see it on the TV and want to be the next Isabelle Kelly so it's great that it's growing in junior league.
"We have our two junior games on the Sunday morning so hopefully young girls can come down and watch and it will inspire them to play as well.”
Burke said the support of her family, who also have members in the Brothers club, had helped push her throughout her league career.
Events such as this round, she said, let women know just how far their passion for footy could take them.
"You have the NRL Women's League, State of Origin, there's definitely a lot of opportunities,” she said.
"I just love enjoying playing footy and I enjoy coaching and helping young girls.”
QRL operations manager Amanda Ohl said there would a corporate area set up in the grandstand to treat the clubs' volunteers to free drinks and nibblies, as a gesture of thanks for their support.
"They do so much hard work and we wouldn't have a league if the volunteers didn't do what they do,” Ohl said.
"We're starting to see more and more women on the field and it's a small recognition for all the hard work women do.
"There will be plenty of points scored this weekend.”
Ohl said she hoped the event would not only boost participation in women's league but also provide players with more exposure.
She said a stand-out game would be between Brothers and Woorabinda.
"They are full of energy,” she said.
"Woorabinda love playing their footy so it will be a real tough game.
"We'll also have a couple of community groups coming along on Sunday.
"There's too much domestic violence and family disputes and we're trying to let the girls in Rocky know there is support out there for them and they don't have to suffer in silence.
"There's a league community behind them, willing to help.”
10am: U14s Rockhampton v Gladstone
11am: U16s Rockhampton v Gladstone
Noon: Yeppoon v Norths
1.30pm: Brothers v Woorabinda
3pm: Emu Park v Fitzroy/Gracemere