Jodi Price’s first foray into rugby league administration was helping out at her son’s junior club, but now, she has made history after being elected as president of the Sunshine Coast Gympie Rugby League.
A board member with the league for the past three seasons, where she has looked after the marketing, public relations, sponsorship and event portfolios, Price’s elevation saw her become the first female president of the league in 103 years.
“Our son has been playing for 20 years, he’s 25 now, and so we have always been involved in his clubs,” Price said.
“My husband and I have been helping behind the scenes all the time and I was actually approached to come on the board in 2019 to the league to help out with the marketing and the PR and sponsorship because of my background in that.
"I thought that would be a good opportunity to do something different and give back to the community and work in the governance and behind the scenes of rugby league.
“So I took up that opportunity and had a great time of it for three years and introduced some really good concepts and rebranded us... and then pretty much when Glenn (Peatling) announced he was stepping down, a lot of the clubs approached me and asked me if I would step up.”
With a professional background that includes running two different businesses, the real estate agent is looking forward to the challenge ahead and has already outlined a number of goals she’d like to achieve in her new role.
“Basically, our goal for the next few years is growing the game, and getting our participation rates up and also, we want to really concentrate on the women’s league,” Price said.
“We have got some strong junior numbers coming through and make sure we can filter that into an under 18s competition or under 19s competition, and build it up because of the opportunity with the QRL statewide competition.
“There is so much coming up for them it would be great to get that going.”
Women’s rugby league is booming on the Sunshine Coast with strong participation and spectator support.
The region also boasts four female club presidents at senior clubs, with Michelle Horn at Kawana Dolphins joined by new presidents Mary-Anne Hallum at Stanley Rivers Wolves, Jess Tedeschi at Caloundra Sharks and Sharon Collins at Pomona-Cooran Cutters.
Starting out as volunteer in the game, Price – who previously played netball – said it was a great way to meet people and develop skills.
“I love that footy has been a big part of our life and has been a big part of our family and we have made great friends from it and really good community relationships as well,” Price said.
“I think people think they have got to have some sort of rugby league background to get involved… but there is so much support and training provided by the QRL and by the leagues, we just want people who love being part of the community to get in and help because we can show them the way, and I don’t think people realise that.
“You don’t have to have kids in the game … once people realise that, and especially with people moving in from other areas coming in, getting involved in this sort of thing is a great way to make connections in the area.”
With a busy year of rugby league ahead, Price is excited to get the season started again with the return of the Sunshine Coast Nines carnival in February next year at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
“This was our first year in March this year and we are making it an annual event on the calendar it was so successful," Price said.
“It was great for pre-season and really got everyone back into footy this year too which was great.”