Women and league still struggling to get along

Melanie Dinjaski Updated October 5, 2012, 2:39 am
Women and league still struggling to get along

Getty Images © Enlarge photo

For the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, this has been a week to forget.

Like having orange juice after brushing your teeth, the events at Belmore Oval on Monday soured an otherwise positive Grand Final week and re-opened the debate over rugby league’s rocky relationship with women.

The NRL has been desperately trying to open doors to women and families, a lasting legacy of David Gallop’s reign as CEO. And for the most part it has worked. The ‘Women in League’ initiative has been overwhelmingly positive, and there are more females involved in the rugby league world than ever before – this is after all 2012, not 1962.

In clubs, the community, and in the media, female faces are becoming more and more prominent in the game and that is not a bad thing.

But unfortunately there are still some stuck in the past, unable to shift old ways of thinking, accept and respect women’s involvement in the sport.

This was clearest when a major sponsor of the Bulldogs came out defending those involved in that now infamous Mad Monday event at Belmore Oval, where sexist remarks were shouted at female journalists by a member of the Bulldogs’ staff. It was just one of many unsavoury displays on the day, and certainly the most troubling.

Jaycar Electronics owner Gary Johnston went on talk-back radio saying, “if a woman walks into some bars in Sydney, she will be ogled, she will be treated as an object and that's the way it is.”

That’s all well and good Gary, but the women in question were not at a bar, they were doing their job. And that job was not at a bar!

Those who vehemently see the Mad Monday story as nothing but a beat-up have asked ‘why were the media there?’ as if they were sniffing for trouble. Maybe they were, we do not know, but as many journalists have explained in the aftermath, they did have good reason to be present.

After losing the Premiership to Melbourne Storm on Sunday, the Bulldogs controversially closed off access to the dressing rooms, a breach of the NRL’s guidelines.

So, unable to speak to or even attempt to speak to ear-biter James Graham after the game, the media say they had no choice but to attend the Mad Monday celebrations in hope of getting a news grab from the Englishman.

They didn’t get what they were after, and instead received a hostile reception unbecoming of a professional sports team.

Whether the players deserved privacy or not is irrelevant.

In a world where every sportsperson is now trained on how to effectively deal with media, their actions can only be described as supremely idiotic.

But defenders of the under-siege Bulldogs have persisted. They sent female reporters to the sacred Aussie, alcohol-fueled tradition of Mad Monday, ‘what did they expect?’ these people have asked.

Well I’m sorry, but just because a journalist is female, does not mean they deserve to be subject to the treatment they got on Monday. Hell, just because ANY female is female, does not mean they deserve that sort of treatment at work!

Bulldogs CEO Todd Greenberg may have condemned the actions on Mad Monday, but the attitude of his staff and club sponsors in the days after simply undoes it all.

Beneath the pink-washed press releases and merchandise, the truth is, rugby league and women are still struggling to get along.

We may have come some way in recent times, and those achievements should be applauded. However the sexist undertones within the rugby league world continue to plague the sport and undermine any efforts to move the game into the future.

More than a few need to be reminded once more; this is 2012, not 1962.

Follow Melanie on Twitter, @MelanieDinjaski

Oldest First
Newest First
Top Rated
Most Replies


  1. Anthony09:32am Friday 05th October 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    It was a private party. They told the media not to come, but they went anyway. Nothing to do with the journalist being female. Her sex doesn't matter. They would be well within their right to shout abuse at a male journalist as well. How would the journalist like it if the players turned up to her parties uninvited? She will be well within her rights to shout abuse at the players. If the media want to be respected by players, they need to start respecting the players, and when told "Do not come", don't go.

  2. Amanda01:13pm Friday 05th October 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    I can't stand this attitude that people have, that females are weaker than men. It's what's stopping us becoming CEOs, etc. Boohoo, they insulted her. Would there be the same outcry if they said the same thing to a man? And what's the issue with the "at bars...she will be ogled" comment? Big deal. I ogle hot guys at bars. I don't care if guys ogle me. It's expected. To say you need to treat a female differently is incredibly sexist, and feminists are the biggest thing holding women back today. This reporter wasn't invited, so she shouldn't have gone. And if she wants to become a good reporter she needs far thicker skin, if that upset her.

  3. Pinkmingle.C0M02:49pm Thursday 01st November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Love the clothes free lifestyle? Naturist is natural. ---Naturistpassion---is such a place.

  4. Stephen06:15pm Thursday 01st November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Who is Melanie whatserface f she was older than 21 she would know that league was always a family game and there were always plenty of ladies at the games when i was a kid growing up in the seventies,if the league wants more families then lower the gate price I can't afford to take my kids more than 2 or maybe 3 times a year.As for the comment about their privacy being irrelevant lets show up at mels place at any time and see how she likes it.

  5. M07:02pm Friday 02nd November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    What a ridiculously generalized statement, Con Dom. That's like saying all men are good at mowing the lawn and very good at buying and looking after cars, which clearly they aren't. In fact, many men are great at cooking, big feet and all, and plenty of women don't have, and don't want, children. Open your eyes brother, if you can actually see through the condom on your head.

  6. M10:14pm Sunday 04th November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Typical redneck response - resort to the old gay implications - yawn! Obviously, my argument was too sensical for you to comprehend. Your Con Dom must be too tight :)

  7. Fairsky02:55am Sunday 11th November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    You ned a Con Dom on your head when you play rugby anyway....2 men trying to push 3 heads up 4 peoples bums. It's a gay sport anyway. What was that Kiwi's name? The bloke with the finger?.....The squirrel grip etc etc. I like the Falcon, but the ball should be a bit heavier :-)

  8. Scott07:15pm Sunday 11th November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    If the writer or women in general don't like League, stop watching. I was born into Rugby (League and Union) but switched to AFL and Football (Soccer) because I liked them more. I didn't complain, I didn't try to change them, I switched. Why can't women just switch? Why do Australian feminists complain so much and try to change everything?




2014 NRL National Youth Competition

Remondis Stadium


2014 NRL National Youth Competition

2014 English Super League

2014 NRL Premiership Season

2014 NRL National Youth Competition


2014 NRL Premiership Season

2:00pm AEST Sun, 13th July
3:00pm AEST Sun, 13th July
7:00pm AEST Mon, 14th July

2014 English Super League

12:00am AEST Mon, 14th July
5:00am AEST Fri, 18th July

2014 NRL National Youth Competition

4:45pm AEST Mon, 14th July