Tallara Bamblett, player for the Parramatta Eels, has a dream sitting on National Rugby League (NRL) Chief Executive Officer Andrew Abdo’s shoulders. The Telstra NRL Women’s Premiership (NRLW) must grow in terms of equality and fair pay so that young women like Tallara can play the game with full commitment and without the distraction of having to work two jobs to make ends meet.
Tallara is currently studying for her HSC at Hills Sports High School and finds it hard to invest in rugby league as her study load is heavy and she also works part time. The balance in her life is always important, and Tallara believes if she were to play in the NRLW, she wants to invest her whole life into the game, so she can push herself to her best playing ability.
Currently, the NRLW is not on the same level as the NRL. The women get five rounds compared to the men who get 25 rounds. “We need some clarity around that before we start talking about pay”, NRLW coach Jamie Soward said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. A clear path with structured competition will ensure that women do not have to chop and change clubs every year and instead build up loyalty and consistency with one club.
Tallara is a proud Indigenous Australian whose family originates from Gilgandra, and she is immensely proud of her father’s tribe, Wiradjuri , which has made her “learn about the culture, which pushes me to be a role model to educate Indigenous girls who also have the same dream as me,” Tallara says.
Tallara started playing Rugby league for the All Saints Toongabbie Tigers at the age of 14 after finding love for the game through playing backyard footy with her brother and father who are footy obssessed and they pushed her to play for her local club. “Im very proud of her as she keeps persistant at her goals to play professional rugby league one day”, Tallara’s father Steve says.
Brisbane Broncos player Ali Brigginshaw is pushing for NRLW contracts to go as high as $100,000. According to a Code Sports article, Brigginshaw said that women players in 2022 could be earning “more working at Woollies”. “Women deserve $100,000 a season as it would be fair, deserving, and exciting. The $16,000 payment each season for women is unfair because it is the same game played by men. Unfortunately for us, we must focus on other duties,” Tallara says.
It’s up to Abdo to enhance the opportunity for thousands of women just like Tallara where they can invest simply in rugby league, be a role model, and receive pay where they can live without worrying about working two jobs to keep afloat.
I questioned Tallara about how she would feel playing in an invested competition with sufficient pay and rounds equal to the men’s competition. “It would be a dream come true to know that all my hard work I’ve done has paid off and women finally get the same treatment as men do.”
The dream is afloat it is time for Andrew Abdo to steer the ship in the right path immediately as this gives hope and excitement to all the current and aspiring NRLW players.