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History maker: Sharon Hickey going back to grassroots in new role

Sharon Hickey knows her humble beginnings are going to work to her advantage as she takes on the mantle of Rugby League Brisbane chair this season.

The first female to hold the title, Hickey was elected chair in November.

It was only three years ago that Hickey joined as a director of Rugby League Brisbane and after completing that tenure, she now holds the top job with a broad vision for what she would like to achieve.

Buoyed by a strong board, including new directors Rebecca Michael and Angela Masson, Hickey said their immediate focus was on strengthening the grassroots – an area of rugby league she was extremely familiar with thanks to 15 years of volunteer work with Pine Central Holy Spirit.

“I’ve been at that level so I know what it’s like to run a club,” Hickey said.

“I want to see the game grow, especially in the female game – and I’m not being biased, there’s just so much potential there.

“You’ve got to start at the bottom and look after the little ones to keep the game growing. We just want kids to play footy.

“But I am there for everyone - a six-year-old or a 35-year-old.

“The clubs put us (the board) where we are. We work for them. My phone is always on and they know they can always ring me. A problem shared is a problem halved.”

Sharon Hickey at the 2021 QRL Awards. Photo: Peter Wallis
Sharon Hickey at the 2021 QRL Awards. Photo: Peter Wallis

A “grateful” Hickey said she also wanted to promote and market Rugby League Brisbane more and to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of clubs and volunteers.

A mother-of-three, she first became involved in the game by helping her children find a sport, with Pine Central Holy Spirit just down the road from their home.

Upon signing her kids up, Hickey took on a more active role within the Pine Central community, volunteering for a number of jobs, including a team manager role and a first aid officer, before she eventually became the club president.

From there she knew she wanted to do more for the game and three years ago she put her hand up to be a director for Rugby League Brisbane.

A winner of the Queensland Rugby League’s Women in League Award in 2019, Hickey said she was ready for the year ahead and excited to see what her board could do together, especially with the inclusions of Michael and Masson.

“I’m just grateful,” Hickey said.

Women in League Award winner is 'one in a million'

“I feel absolutely honoured and privileged… excited and proud. It’s special.

“The men on our board, they are a wealth of knowledge in the governance and finance sections. But with the women … it’s great to have that diversity amongst the Board.

“We’ve never played the game but we’ve been involved in the game. We bring a new perspective. It’s a new lease on the game.”

Put simply this International Women's Day, 'without gender equality today, a sustainable future, an equal future, remains out of reach'

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