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Women in League: A celebration in pink

The Bugle App

Malin Dunfors

06 June 2024, 6:06 AM

Women in League: A celebration in pinkGirl power during the 'Women in League' round. Photo credit: Harry Middleton.

Chittick Oval bursts with shades of pink (from blush to bubblegum) on Saturday, June 1, as the Kiama Knights Rugby League Football Club celebrates the “Women in League” round.


The annual event showcases girls and women in rugby, from players, coaches and officials to mums, volunteers and fans.


Carl Middleton, president of the Kiama Junior Knights, stands overlooking the oval, where games of tackle have been going on since around 8am this morning.



There’s no slowing down of either action or excitement. Every so often, there’s a streak of hot pink (read hot pink socks) flashing by as every player, both girls and boys, have been given a pair to wear for their games.


“For the Under 12 girls, it’s the first year that they’ve played tackle – and they beat Albion Park in a really good game,” he says.


Go, go, go. Photo credit: Harry Middleton.


Girls began playing rugby in the club about three to four years ago.


“We’re fortunate to have them, and the mums who help out,” says Middleton.



Why does he think that rugby has become so popular among women in Kiama?


“The National Women’s Rugby League (NRLW), featuring the Sydney Roosters, is being shown on TV and broadcasted during prime time”, he explains.


“Our girls see that, and want to be a part of it.” 


“They are skillful, if not more than the boys at their age,” he says. “And what better place to play than by the beach?”


There’s a flurry of activity at the club’s canteen, which overlooks Surf Beach. The volunteers are busy selling mouth-savoring pink cupcakes to mark the occasion.


Here we come. Photo credit: Harry Middleton.


Hannah Baltoski is here with her two young boys, Lucky and Walter, who are both playing this Saturday.


“It’s fantastic,” she says of the celebration, “Great for the community. Everyone’s showing up and participating in a great cause.”


“Great with the pink socks and hairbands,” Baltoski adds.


What did her sons think of the pink socks? “It didn’t bother them to put them on,” she smiles.



At 10:30am, Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” blasts through the loudspeakers as a contingent of girls and boys run down from the club house onto the field.


Gilmore MP Fiona Phillips, coffee in hand to tackle the increasing wet weather, saw them sprinting by.


“I was watching the little girls (Under 8, I think) running out with the music. So exciting,” she says. “It’s lovely to see the young girls and women.”


Fiona Phillips and Carl Middleton outside the Kiama Junior Knights clubhouse. Photo credit: Harry Middleton.


“When I came here for the Mother’s Day event, I was blown away. When you get young girls involved, it brings more parents and volunteers.” 


Phillips finds the event to be a prime example of how, “more women in rugby helps across the board.”


She used to play Oztag when she was younger but not rugby since a women’s league wasn’t around then. “It’s good to see how far it has come,” she says.