The Wallaroos are excited about what the future holds after Rugby Australia confirmed their increased investment into the 15-a-side game of over $2 million.
A host of players were in attendance as the announcement was made on Saturday morning, hosted by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at Kirribilli House.
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The relationship was formed between the Prime Minister and Chairman Hamish McLennan last month, welcoming players, officials and government members for the morning tea.
The major talking point from the deal brocked as part of the new CBA is the introduction of central part-time contracts for the Wallaroos with Rugby Australia for the first ever time.
Players will earn up to $52,000 as part of the tiered system, along with bringing in a minimum payment for Super W as well as parenting and pregnancy guidelines.
It's the first step towards the eventual professionalism of the program, slated for 2025, with players currently balancing working or studying with their Rugby careers.
Prop Emily Robinson is a standout example of this, a carpenter by trade.
Robinson gets up for work at 6 am, on the tools until 3:30 pm before making the journey to and from training that usually ends close to 15 hours after she leaves her house.
She explained to reporters the significance of the deal as their dreams turn into a reality.
“It’s a massive deal,” Robinson said. I’ve played for a long time now, debuting eight years ago and to see the growth in that time and even before me, so many women that have flown the flag and done their bit, this is the golden ticket.
“We probably don’t realise it yet but when we leave here today, we’ll start to get how big it is so it’s really exciting.
“…It’s a crazy life that we live but we love it, we love Rugby and we’ve all done this before being paid because we love it and the enjoyment we get out of it.
“This is the start of what is fair and how it should be."
It continues the build towards the 2029 Rugby World Cup, set to be hosted in Australia.
With opportunities continuing to grow, Robinson and fellow Waratah young gun Piper Duck are excited about what the future holds.
“When I started, I looked up to Phil Waugh and Matt Giteau and didn’t even know Australia had a women’s team," Robinson admits
“I’ve never thought about getting paid, I didn’t know it was an option. To be able to create that path, I’ve got two young nieces and when they’re of age to play for Australia, it could be their full-time job so it’s super exciting.”
“It’s huge. I’m similar to ‘Horse’ (Emily Robinson) when I started playing in 2017 when I was 16, I didn't know Rugby was a sport, let alone women could play it,” Duck added.
“I was told by my family women don’t play Rugby or contact sport. At that point I’m not thinking ‘Oh, I want to play this sport to get paid’, I did it because I love it.
“Now we can get the reward for all the hard work and effort we put in and the fact money is being invested into us and we’re being invited to Kirribilli House, it adds some much excitement and acknowledgement for what we do and shows that people are respecting what we doing.
“The more time, money, resources and acknowledgement put into Women’s Rugby, the more girls will want to stay and know it’s an option for them because you can’t be what you can’t see.”
RUGBY AUSTRALIA'S INCREASED INVESTMENT IN WOMEN'S RUGBY: WHAT IT MEANS
- For the first time, Australia’s Women’s XVs Rugby team, the Wallaroos, will receive central part-time contracts with Rugby Australia.
- A list of up to 35 players will be contracted across three tiers, with the potential to earn between $30,000 and $52,000 in RA payments for Wallaroos and Super W participation combined in 2023.
- A parenting and pregnancy guideline has been agreed in principle – contracted Wallaroos players will still receive their full contract amount for the year while on maternity leave.
- All Buildcorp Super W players will receive an RA-funded minimum payment of $4,000 in addition to club payments for the five-rounds-plus-Finals Super W season.
- RA’s minimum payment is intended to be additional to club payments – Super W clubs may contribute payments over and above the minimum RA payments.
- The additional funding from RA will also cover new investment into the High-Performance programs at Super W clubs to enhance the coaching, strength and conditioning, medical and performance environments.
- There will be additional provisions for meals at training sessions and a contribution toward childcare for players with children up to age 12.