This month (this week!) the Women’s World Rugby League Cup is being hosted at our own home ground, Southern Cross Group Stadium.
That’s right… three pool rounds are being played as triple headers at Shark Park. The first was this Thursday while the next is this Sunday, 19 November and then next Wednesday, 22 November respectively, with the semi-finals to be contested as a double header on Sunday 26 November 2017.
How cool to be able to watch Jillaroos like our own Sharks players Corban McGregor, Talesha Quinn and captain Ruan Sims, take on the world at our home ground! We spoke to Sharks player and Jillaroo Allana Ferguson about this exciting opportunity for players and fans alike:
SHH: You must be so disappointed to be injured and not out there with the girls for this World Cup Allana.
AF: I am, but that’s football. The girls are still making me feel like I’m part of the team and the fact I’m working with Channel 7’s media coverage of the World Cup is certainly keeping me involved.
SHH: The women’s game seems to be going from strength to strength.
AF: It absolutely is! 2017 has been a ground-breaking year for the women’s game in this country on so many levels. The fact that the Sharks dug into their own pockets to form a Women’s 9s competition was awesome… and though we played what were really only exhibition matches this year, I have no doubt we’ve proved a point and that other clubs in the NRL will now start to offer contracts to female players. It won’t be long before we have a professional Comp. up and running. I know the NRL needs to get the timing right, but I assure you, we’re ready to play now!
On top of that, the acquisition of a major sponsor in Harvey Norman was a massive coup for the women’s game. Add that to the fact that Fox Sports screened our international matches (up to 12 times!) and there’s no time that more attention has been focused on the women than ever before.
And now with the Women’s World Cup… that really is the icing on the cake! The NSWRL has now created a pathway for girls that starts at Under 6 level and literally goes all the way through to international competition. That’s awesome!
SHH: It’s easy to sense your passion for the game Allana.
AF: I am SO passionate about our future as a sport. Imagine, we have women’s teams from England, New Zealand, PNG, Canada and the Cook Islands here for the World Cup. Games will be televised and the Final will be played as part of a double-header with the Men’s Final at Suncorp Stadium in front of 50,000 people and televised all over the world!
SHH: And will the Jillaroos be holding the trophy high after that Final?
AF: Well, we’re definitely the tournament favourites. We’ve found some very good form that’s seen us beat our nearest rivals, the Kiwis, all four times we’ve played them this year. There’s such a good culture within the squad. We set goals as a team and pursue them together. Yes… I think we’ll win the World Cup.
We do too Allana… and the Sharks are even running a program for schools and businesses to get involved with the Women’s World Cup whereby they’ll be urged to ‘Adopt a Nation as your 2nd Team’. We’re dividing the Shire into 5 ‘regions’ and assigning one of the competing nations to each. Principals will then be asked to dress their schools and local businesses in the colours of the Cook Islands, PNG, Canada, New Zealand and England, with prizes like signed World Cup Jerseys awarded for ‘Best Dressed’.
It’s a great time for Cronulla and the women’s game. For more info. on the Women’s World Cup, click here.