Female players call out Rugby Australia, demand fair funding

Female players call out Rugby Australia, demand fair funding Female players call out Rugby Australia, demand fair funding
Grace Fisher

On Sunday, nearly every current Wallaroo posted an identical letter on social media calling out Rugby Australia for its lack of investment in the women's 15-a-side game — especially when compared to the lavish funding received by the men's team, the Wallabies.

The immediate catalyst seems to have been a video, posted to Rugby Australia's account and since deleted, of the romantic partner of a Wallabies player flying to Sydney on Rugby Australia's dime — apparently one of several wives and girlfriends who were flown out to spend time with their partners before the team leaves for France.

2022 Wallaroos Player of the Year Georgie Friedrichs commented "@wallabies WAGs getting more funding than the Wallaroos team."

Friedrichs was one of many players to post the letter to various social media. It reads:


"You told us anything beyond flying economy was too costly. Then you flew the Wallabies business class on a trip shorter than ours.

"You told us full-time contracts were in the pipeline, that there wasn't enough money to keep the Men in the game, let alone us. Then you paid $5 million for an NRL player [Joseph Suaalii].

"You said our program would go professional, and our coach would be full-time. How many coaches has Eddie taken to the World Cup?

"You continually say we don't have enough resources, and yet we all saw the World Cup sendoff for the Wallabies.


"We've seen the impact that women's sport has had on the Australian sporting landscape, thanks to the @matildas. It's time for the chairman, board and CEO to prioritise the future of Australian Women's Rugby and allocate adequate resources.

"It's time to acknowledge that we are not promoted equally, even on a free platform.

"The future of our game hangs in the balance. It's your move, Rugby Australia."

Unlike many elite 15-a-side teams, the Wallaroos do not have full time contracts, though Rugby Australia has said they are pushing to change that by the 2025 Rugby World Cup. Part-time contracts were announced for the first time earlier this year.

There is also very little funding for staff. As Friedrichs commented: "Eddie has more than six coaches in his program — the Wallaroos coach [Jay Tregonning] isn't even full time." He balances his coaching duties with teaching.

Despite this, the Wallaroos are ranked 5th in the world, having reached the quarter-finals of last year's Women's Rugby World Cup and qualifying for the new WXV1 competition, set for October.

Many have drawn comparisons with the Matildas, who, after increased investment and the attention of being the home team at the World Cup, are now Australia's most valuable national team brand. "The Matildas have shown the world's hunger for elite female sport," said Friedrichs.

Forward Sera Naiqama was also outspoken, particularly in response to the video:

"Reason it ruffles our feathers is because the treatment isn't the same. This post is purely salt in the wound for Wallaroos. 32 of us selected for World Cup last year but this wasn't offered to our partners? Before you attack, let's not forget in June the lads flew business class to South Africa yet we, their female equivalent, endured a 14-hour flight in economy to Canada less than 12 hours after our test against the Black Ferns. You deleted the post...but we kept the receipt."

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