Wages for female rugby union players to rise 28% as NRLW announces historic expansion
The NRL announced sensational changes this morning to ensure the growth and professionalism of the women’s game.
Expansion, pay rises, insurance and junior development were all on the agenda, with the NRLW a big winner from the announcement.
From the 2023 season, the competition will expand to eight teams, with that number increasing to 10 in 2024. Clubs not currently part of the NRLW will be able to submit offers to join, with successful clubs being announced later this year.
Each club will be able to buy two marquee players as full-time employees and will also have a salary cap of $350,000 for the team. This cap will help increase an NRLW player’s current average income by 28%.
Representative games also received a pay raise. Those who play in All-Star matches will now win $3,000 instead of $1,600, with State of Origin match payouts rising from $4,000 to $6,000. Starting in 2023, the Origin Series will also transition from the current single-match format to two standalone matches.
In order to bolster player health and fitness, all contracted players will now be covered by private health insurance.
Investments have also been made in the junior women’s rugby league and course programmes.
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo made the exciting announcements this morning.
“Today is an exciting day for women’s football. We are expanding to eight teams in 2023 and 10 teams in 2024. We are also introducing a salary cap for next season and creating the opportunity for more female players to gain access to employment full-time through their club,” he said.
“The expansion of NRLW competition and the introduction of the salary cap will allow players to earn much more revenue through our game.
“We are seeing significant growth in TV audiences and it is up to the players and the Commission will continue to invest in and support this success.
“It is important that today’s announcements are aimed at ensuring sustainable NRLW competition. We have always been very clear that we will ensure that our playing talent is deep enough and that our clubs are prepared before we start. expand. The lead time to the next phase of expansion will ensure our clubs have the right infrastructure in place and our playing talent runs even deeper.”
He added: “Today is not just about elite play, it is also about building participation and lanes.
“The Commission is focused on building the women’s game from the bottom up. Not only encouraging more participation as players, but also more female coaches and referees. Throughout the game, we will continue to work to create pathways for women whether or not they want to play, coach, referee or be an administrator.”
“I want to thank our players. They’ve been incredibly patient while we make sure we can kick off a 2021 season that gives everyone the opportunity to play and we’ve had some really constructive conversations with the RLPA about the next steps in our growth strategy,” he added. noted.
“I also want to thank our partners. In particular Telstra, Nine and Fox Sports, who are incredibly committed to growing, investing in and promoting women’s football.”