HER Rugby League Association

Date published: Friday, May 24, 2013
The launch of a new venture in sport

A new organisation has been set up to celebrate and support the women who work in, play, watch and support the sport of rugby league.
Her Rugby League Association was created by Angela Powers, a Sky Sports reporter who has been involved in covering the game for 15 years.
“I have always been quietly proud of the fact that rugby league appeals to and attracts so many women, even though it is played predominantly by men and is characterised by aggressive contact,” she said.
“Despite its combative nature, it has grown to be considered THE sport for all the family, and that is reflected in the make up of the crowd and the warm and friendly atmosphere most people experience at live games.”
Her Rugby League Associationʼs main objective is to promote the sport to new audiences by highlighting the part that women play in the game. By celebrating the positive aspects of the sport – and dispelling some outdated and inaccurate myths about who actually watches and plays it – Her RLA believes that those who have never played or watched a game might be tempted to ʻgive it a goʼ.
“Rugby league, like many other sports, has some very real challenges right now. The reduction in some of its Sport England funding and the increasing difficulty in attracting new sponsors in a tough financial climate are making it harder to market and expand the sport.
“Couple that with the impending structural changes to Super League and the licensing system, and you can see why some may question its future direction. But people have been incorrectly predicting rugby leagueʼs demise since its birth in 1895 – and we believe that enhancing the positive can only do it good in the longer term. Thatʼs why we are here. To make a difference.”
In its first year, Her RLA plans a number of new, exciting strategies to promote and support the sport and the women involved in it. They include:
• Organising events specifically targeted at a female audience but with the sport of rugby league at their heart;
• Creating a communications network so that women in the game can share ideas, opinions and expertise, via a forum for members on its website;
• Setting up networking and informal mentoring events and training for members, with a view to enhancing their skills within rugby league and to the benefit of the wider community;
• Commissioning research to discover the true picture of female participation in the sport, from playing to watching to volunteering to supporting, and everything in between, to enable better marketing to new and existing, key audiences;
• Highlighting the positive stories and experiences of women in the game, through the use of social and traditional media, and an annual Awards Celebration Evening.
“Her Rugby League Association isnʼt about giving women in the game ʻa voiceʼ…women already have one, and their opinions have always counted. This is about bringing them together, sharing ideas, helping each other and showing the world what a great, inclusive, and exciting sport it is. Spread the love!”

Who we are:
Angela Powers – Director
Journalist, formerly with the Warrington Guardian and BBC North West Tonight, and now in her 16th season as a rugby league reporter and presenter with Sky Sports. Mother of two boys and Warrington Wolves season ticket holder.
Joanne Hawkins – Director
Founder of Executive VPA, which offers tailored PA assistance to companies in the North West. An ardent Salford City Reds fan who watches regularly with her partner, daughter and granddaughter.
Sarah Williams – Director
Equality and Diversity Manager for the RFL and mother of five. In her time at the RFL, the governing body has been listed 53rd in the Stonewall employers index and last year won the organisation’s sports award.
Jacqueline Hughes-Lundy – Director
Owner of the strategy and marketing company Olivia Henry Associates, and founder of the Inspiring Women Awards, now in its 21st year. A writer and contributor to broadcast business programmes, sheʼs also a supporter of Salford City Reds.
Our Ambassadors include:
Kate Hardcastle – Insight With Passion
Kate is a business expert who regularly provides opinion and analysis on television news programmes. She is the driving force behind Insight With Passion, a company that helps individuals and businesses grow with confidence. She is also a lifelong Bradford Bulls supporter who is now a non-executive director at the club. Sheʼs a multi award winner for her services to commerce and business and is the 2013 Tesco Mum of the Year.
Sally Bolton – 2013 Rugby League World Cup manager
Sally is one of the senior figures of the Rugby Football League, as director of projects and planning, and manager of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, with responsibility for creating and delivering one of the gameʼs greatest occasions on an international scale. She was formerly the chief executive of Wigan Rugby League Club.
Julie Stott – Journalist
Julie is a sports reporter who writes for the Daily Star. Sheʼs also an author, and wrote the Malcolm Alker biography The Devil Inside. She is the partner of Dave Woods, journalist and Rugby League commentator for the BBC.
Kath Hetherington
Kath is steeped in rugby league, having grown up the only girl among four brothers, three of whom were keen players. Her first date with her soon-to-be husband, Gary Hetherington, was at an international rugby league game, and they went on to form a club of their own, Sheffield Eagles. Kath was also a founder of Gateshead Thunder, and moved on to become the chairperson of Hull FC after the two clubs merged. The first female member of the Rugby League Council, and its first ever female president, she has now retired from ‘front line’ duty but still regularly attends matches – and still has a very keen eye for talent.
Hilary Steel MBE
Hilary has been at the heart of community rugby league for many years, having held the position of secretary of Warrington Amateur Rugby League and chair of the North West Counties among many others. Awarded MBE in 2009, she was the RFLʼs Volunteer or the Year in 2008.
Kevin Sinfield – Leeds Rhinos Captain
The captain of Leeds Rhinos and England, Kevin has won six Super League titles with the Rhinos and won the 2013 Golden Boot award, given to the best player in the world.
Jamie Peacock MBE – Former England captain and Leeds Rhinos player
Jamie is a former Great Britain captain who has been one of the most consistent and popular performers in Leeds Rhinosʼ history. He is a motivational speaker and, is studying for a masterʼs degree.
Jon Wilkin – St Helens player and founder of 1eagu3
Jon has been a stalwart of the St Helens team for more than ten years, during which time he has also captained his country. He is a founder of the rugby league playersʼ representative organisation, 1eage3.

Adrian Morley – Great Britain, England and Warrington Wolves captain

Adrian began his professional career with Leeds before going to Australia for a hugely successful stint with Sydney City Roosters. A former Great Britain captain, he is now captain of Warrington Wolves.
Sam Tomkins – Wigan Warriors and 2012 Man of Steel
The 2012 Man of Steel, Sam is considered to be one of the most talented and exciting players in the world. He won the 2010 Grand Final and the 2011 Challenge cup with Wigan Warriors.
Sean OʼLoughlin – Wigan Warriors captain
Sean has been with Wigan Warriors for his entire professional career and is team captain. An England international, he is one of this countryʼs most respected and consistent performers.
Paul Sculthorpe MBE – former GB and St Helens captain
Scully won every major title in his time at St Helens, where he was also team captain before his retirement. A former Great Britain captain too, and twice Man of Steel winner, he epitomises the professionalism and steely determination of the modern rugby league
Membership details
To become a member of Her Rugby League Association, fill in the form on the website at HerRugbyLeague.co.uk
Ordinary membership costs £10 per annum, and includes exclusive offers from sponsors and partners, access to training courses, mentoring events and other member-only events. Associate membership packages are available to rugby league clubs at a cost of £150, which entitles female members of staff to free individual membership.