Jillaroos centre and St George Illawarra Dragons NRLW star Jessica Sergis is thrilled the next generation of girls playing rugby league have a whole competition of women's players to look up to.
Sergis has been selected as the face of the NRL's push for increased junior participation on the back of her performances in the inaugural Holden Women’s Premiership.
The NRL is looking to boost female participation number in junior ranks and Sergis, who picked up the game at age six, says she was thankful the game's no longer seen as a sport for boys.
"My junior club was the Coogee Randwick Wombats," Sergis said.
"I was six years old when we started playing football. We're a big rugby league family so my dad was a coach at the time.
"All I really remember is running around with the boys and having so much fun. I know the game's just going to grow from now."
Sergis confident female participation will grow
The NRL announced in September that the number of women playing rugby league had risen by 29% since 2017 and doubled since 2015.
"I'm so happy for them that they get to look up to us women now, they don't have to look up to the men like we did," Sergis said.
"I think the pathways are going to get bigger and we're going to get so many girls playing the sport."
The NRL launched its new junior rugby league campaign on Wednesday featuring 22 boys and girls from 19 different grassroots clubs, including the sons of rugby league legends Andrew Johns and Michael Ennis.
"It's a different league to what you see on TV," said the NRL's NRL Head of Football – Participation, Pathways and Game Development, Luke Ellis.
Junior League National Registration Launch
"And that's why hearing the enjoyment rugby league brings these kids in their own words is so important.
"There's nothing more enjoyable than seeing kids having fun, running around with their mates on a rugby league field.
"We have to ensure that everyone, especially those new to the game, get to experience just how fun, safe and friendly being involved in junior rugby league is."
Junior rugby league registrations are now open nationally, with more details on local junior clubs and age-specific rule variations available via www.playrugbyleague.com.