Queensland women to be paid same as men

In another leap towards full professionalism in women’s rugby league, Queensland’s female State of Origin players will receive the same remuneration as their male counterparts.

The QRL confirmed on Thursday that in a first for the game, women’s players who take part in next year’s Origin clash with New South Wales will earn $15,000 – equal to the men’s match fee.

Maroons captain Ali Brigginshaw heralded the decision as a defining moment for women’s rugby league and said the payments would ease the financial strain on players.

“It means we can have the best people playing the game,” Brigginshaw said.

“I guess we don’t lose anyone to other sports, especially. And when you’re away for work, we’re not having girls lose jobs. They’re being paid to be in camp and represent their state.

“And that’s probably the most rewarding part … Girls aren’t coming into camp stressed because they may lose their job over this. They’re being paid and they can take leave for that time.

“We’ve had girls that have had to come in and say they’ve lost their job [due to having to take time off for football] – and how can we support them?” the 2020 Dally M Medallist added.

“It’s sad to see girls coming in broken around losing jobs. You won’t see that now, you’ll see the best people on the park.”

In March, a revised squad of 30 players will be contracted to the QRL for a string of training camps in preparation the 2022 Origin match, which is scheduled for June 24.

All initial squad members will be paid $4000, with the 19 players chosen to take part in the final Origin camp to receive an additional $7000. The 18 players then selected in the team will collect a $4000 match payment, bringing their total up to $15,000.

Men’s captain Daly Cherry-Evans praised the QRL’s direction.

“What this shows is that there’s a really strong progression coming in the women’s game, and it’s only natural that we keep giving our female players the opportunity to spend more time away to grow the game they love,” Cherry-Evans said.

Brigginshaw believes the women’s game is “getting to the professional stage”.

“Next year is going to be the true test of that,” she said.

“We’re going to be playing a lot of footy, being two [NRLW] seasons and the local comp as well and an Origin. We’re going to see what professional life is like.

“I think it will only go [fully] professional after that.”

The next step, Brigginshaw said, is expanding women’s Origin to a three-game series.

“We’ll have to work on the NRL with that one, but we’re happy playing this game and we’ll see what the future holds. Maybe after next year we’ll go to three,” she said.

QRL CEO Rohan Sawyer said he would be in dialogue with the NSWRL as they work together to continue the progression of the women’s game.

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