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State of Origin women to be paid same as men


Queensland women’s coach Tahnee Norris says the QRL’s decision to provide equal match payments to men’s and women’s Origin teams is a game-changing move.

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Under the arrangement announced by the Queensland Rugby League on Thursday, the Maroons will pay up to $15,000 to players who take part in next year’s women’s Origin clash.

The move is expected to put pressure on the NSW Rugby League to follow suit, with a budget for women’s Origin to be discussed at a board meeting next month.

The $11,000 payment will include the current $4000 from the NRL for the match, as well as $3000 and $4000 for training camps in the lead up from the QRL.

Norris said the example of Brittany Breayley’s withdrawal from this year’s campaign highlighted the need for the women’s players to be properly compensated for their time and efforts.

Breayley withdrew from the Maroons due to work commitments, a situation Norris believes the pay arrangement would have resolved.

“You’ve got one of the best players in Australia that had to withdraw from an Origin side and in tears having to do that,” Norris said.

“To be able to say to the girls that we will support you, we will remunerate you and we’ll help you along your journey so that you can actually play football.

“You can concentrate on playing football and not have to worry about what’s going on in the background.

“You can fully dedicate yourself and your time to the sport.”

The deal does however bring into question what will happen if the series expands to three matches, or if men’s payments return to the $30,000 figure they were before the pandemic.

Norris is set to announce an emerging squad of women’s players later this month ahead of the first of a series of camps in December ahead of the June 24 clash.

For captain Ali Brigginshaw, who began her career having to foot her own bill to represent her state, the deal is a massive moment in the women’s game.

“It’s not about the money, we play the game in the same spirit but to be rewarded in that time when you’re away from family and to play the game in the same spirit is huge,” Brigginshaw said.

“It means we can have the best people playing the game. We don’t lose anyone to other sports especially and when you’re away from work, we’re not having girls lose jobs.

“Girls aren’t coming into camp stressed because they may lose their job over this.”

Brigginshaw said she had heard from AFLW players over the news, and called on the NSW Rugby League to follow Queensland’s lead.

“The NSWRL has always had an extremely strong commitment to the women’s game and supporting our elite women’s players, the NSW Sky Blues,” NSWRL boss Dave Trodden told AAP.

“Any additional investment in the women’s game is a good thing and our approach to the Women’s Origin match for next year will be the subject of discussion at upcoming board meetings.”

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