Women's NRL Grand Final
Women's NRL Grand Final

Broncos on tenterhooks with NRLW future clouded

The Broncos have left the fate of their women's team in the hands of the NRL as the governing body continues to discuss the immediate future of the NRLW competition.

It follows reports both the Roosters and Warriors have decided not to play in this year's season due to cost-cutting measures, as the code continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The four-week season, typically played in September, has been part of ongoing discussions between clubs and the NRL.

 

With the Roosters and Warriors, which make up half the NRLW competition, reportedly pulling the pin on their women's sides as a cost-cutting measure, the women's season is now on tenterhooks.

Ali Brigginshaw lifts the NRL Women's Premiership trophy last year. Picture: AAP
Ali Brigginshaw lifts the NRL Women's Premiership trophy last year. Picture: AAP

Brisbane are yet to make a call on the immediate future of their women's team and will be guided by the advice of the NRL.

"As a club, we've always supported women's rugby league and we will continue to do so," a Broncos spokesman told The Courier-Mail.

"However, the short-term future of the competition and a decision on the NRLW is in the hands of the NRL and they will advise us on what happens next."

However, the Broncos are not immune to the crippling coronavirus pandemic effecting all clubs across the NRL, which could have repercussions for their women's team.

The club is currently going through severe cost-cuts and making staff redundant and is unlikely to be able to fund their women's side in the current environment.

The Broncos celebrate their 2019 grand final victory over St George Illawarra. Picture: AAP
The Broncos celebrate their 2019 grand final victory over St George Illawarra. Picture: AAP

 

In previous seasons, each NRLW club has had to outlay between $300,000 and $400,000 to field a team.

As a result of the financial instability at all levels in rugby league, the NRL would likely need to fund the entire women's competition for it to go ahead.

It is understood NRL hierarchy have also held off from issuing NRLW contracts for the upcoming 2020 season until there is more certainty around the game's future.

An NRL spokeswoman confirmed reports that there had been discussions around whether the NRLW will go ahead this year.

"The future of NRLW in 2020 remains undecided at this stage, given the uncertain circumstances of the public health crisis," a spokeswoman told The Courier-Mail.

The Broncos are waiting on a decision as to whether they can defend their title this year. Picture: AAP
The Broncos are waiting on a decision as to whether they can defend their title this year. Picture: AAP

It comes after Queensland's inaugural statewide women's competition, the BHP Premiership, was on Friday cancelled for the 2020 season and the National Championships, to be played in May, were also canned.

Broncos NRLW coach Kelvin Wright said the lack of women's sport, and sport in general, would delay the opportunity for young girls to get involved.

"It will make it hard for those girls transitioning into rugby league because there's no sport for them to play," Wright said.

"But that's happening with every sport.

"(A cancelled NRLW season) will just bring a halt to the momentum of the women's game."

Originally published as Broncos on tenterhooks with NRLW future clouded


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