NRL mustn't rush women's league: Jillaroos

Dec 2, 2017 - 4:32 PM They are the driving force behind a proposed women's national rugby league competition.

But the Jillaroos have warned the NRL not to rush into launching the new league on the back of their Women's Rugby League World Cup success.

The Jillaroos claimed back-to-back Cups with a 23-16 win over the Kiwi Ferns in Saturday's final at Suncorp Stadium after a try scoring double by centre Isabelle Kelly.

It only added momentum to plans to launch a women's competition next year with up to six NRL-affiliated teams.

Coach Brad Donald said the Jillaroos had been pushing for the league for some time but were now wary of the NRL fast-tracking the concept and fielding an inferior product.

Worse still, Donald said the Jillaroos feared new players cutting their teeth in the sport could be at risk of injury if a new league fielded too many teams.

"It (national women's league) is something this group has been driving for for some time," Donald said.

"And what people don't realise is that these current shareholders (Jillaroos) in the game are really careful about what they want to do with the game."

The NRL is in talks to launch the new female league with a proposed end of year tournament in 2018.

"One of the things we need to see is that if we've got a national competition, people want to watch it and the girls have worked hard to get there and earned their right to be a part of it," Donald said.

"The girls understand the responsibility to make sure we don't just put 16 teams worth of women into NRL jumpers.

"There's girls like the ones that played (in the Cup final) who have worked their backsides off for years to make sure they're strong enough, they don't get injured, they treat the game professionally.

"When the NRL figures out what the talent pool is like, then we'll be able to tell you how many teams are in the competition in the next couple of years."

Donald believed a women's NRL competition was inevitable after the Jillaroos held out the three-time champion Kiwi Ferns and ensured they would go through 2017 undefeated.

"One of their goals was to win the Cup but the other is to inspire young girls to play footy," Donald said of the Jillaroos.

"One day we will see an NRL competition. If these guys keep going the way they are we are not that far away."

Kiwi Ferns coach Tony Benson all but nominated a Warriors-affiliated team for the proposed women's league.

"For it to work I think we need a New Zealand team in there," he said.

Source: AAP

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