The Queensland Rugby League, including the statewide competitions, will acknowledge Harvey Norman Women in League Round this weekend and celebrate the vast and varied contribution women make to the greatest game of all.
From referees and touch judges who officiate the game, to ground managers who oversee the matches, to volunteers who help welcome fans at the gates; the women in the game hold key roles to help keep clubs and competitions running.
That is no different at the statewide competitions level, with many women employed across all the Hostplus Cup clubs in numerous roles, including increasingly as coaches and coaching assistants of statewide competitions teams such as Amanda Ohl at Central Queensland Capras, Maia Tua-Davidson at Souths Logan Magpies, Flori King-Smith at Northern Pride and Deanna Turner and Meg Ward at Norths Devils.
There are almost too many to name, so below is just a small snapshot of a selection of women at some of the Hostplus Cup clubs who are playing a key part in helping their clubs and players thrive.
In the spirit of celebration, comment on the social media posts for this story with a woman in league who is doing great work to show you appreciate their hard work and contributions to the club.
Women in League Round statewide snapshot
Anj Howlett, Alice Hill and Megan Kelly - Norths Devils
Alice Hill, Anj Howlett (main image) and Megan Kelly are some of team staff who work with the Hostplus Cup side at Norths Devils. Hill was an assistant strength and conditioner and yellow shirt for the Norths Devils Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup side this year and also serves and an assistant strength and conditioner and yellow shirt for the Hastings Deering Colts side. Hill also helps out at Hostplus Cup trainings and game days. Hill is at the club almost every day and brings her expertise into any role she can.
Howlett is a remedial massage therapist who “does a bit of everything” for the Hostplus Cup team, be it strapping, providing massages and injury triages. Howlett was also the yellow shirt for the Harvey Norman Under 19 Girls team this season and goes above and beyond to ensure the Devils have the best care at all times.
Kelly is the club’s physiotherapist and is on the sideline at every game. Kelly – who has previously worked as the physiotherapist for the Women’s Indigenous All Stars team and the Fiji Women’s Rugby League team – was the club physio right through the 2021 premiership season. This year, Kelly has worn the orange shirt to help the Devils on the field in the likes of Hastings Deering Colts apart from her Hostplus Cup role.
Kirrilly Parr - Townsville Blackhawks
Kirrilly Parr is a woman of many hats. Her email signature may read football operations assistant, but for many people, if you need anything from the Townsville Blackhawks, she is the first point of call as if she can’t give you the information, she will most definitely know who can.
While working in football administration would keep her busy enough, Parr also assists with co-ordinating the media for the Blackhawks and helps ensure her teams get good, positive coverage through local media and beyond.
Libby Cook-Black - Northern Pride
A young go-getter, Cook-Black was appointed to a director’s position on the Northern Pride board for 2022 and across the next three years earlier this year. A strong advocate for the women's game who is keen to see rugby league continue to expand in north and far north Queensland, the former Queensland Women’s representative player (QRP #116) is also hands-on with the club, helping with their administration and with their media and social media.
During the recent ‘Activate! Queensland’ County Week Round, Cook-Black could be found with a camera in hand, helping to document the trip for the club’s fans.
Jodie Berkers – Burleigh Bears
As the football operations and player wellbeing manager at Burleigh Bears, Jodie Berkers is responsible for all things football operations including travel logistics, game day logistics and compliance.
In her wellbeing manager role, Berkers looks after the education of players in the wellbeing area and is also tasked with making sure players know their obligations to Sport Integrity Australia (previously known as ASADA) and making sure players are educated on the risks of drugs and betting.
When asked about working with Berkers, QRL statewide competition staff said, “we ask, and it gets done”.
Justine Parisi - Ipswich Jets
Justine Parisi is the football operations manager at the Ipswich Jets and also works as their senior digital manager. An integral part of the club, Parisi ensures the Jets are compliant with all the requirements needed to participate in the Queensland Rugby League statewide competitions.
With a background in logistics and team management, Parisi is also a people person who interacts daily with the club’s coaches, players, support staff and administration team to ensure everything on and off the rugby league field is completed. Parisi's digital work includes creating marketing items for social and print media to promote the club.
Urith Toa – PNG Hunters
Urith Toa took an official role with the PNG Hunters in 2022, but has been involved with the club through her work at the PNGRFL since 2018. Toa is a highly respected member of the organisation and has developed a reputation as one of the more professional and dedicated staffers in both the Hunters and the PNGRFL.
This season, Toa has filled the role of executive assistant, but frequently goes beyond her job description to assist the club. A recent example is via her contributions to the high performance department this season where in her own time, she has helped develop and improve the administrative systems of the high performance staff to better record and monitor player fitness and feedback.
Toa is also highly active in the media and marketing space, supporting in capturing digital content and working with stakeholders to provide value for sponsors and supporters.
Don't forget to add your suggestion of a woman in league from your club who deserves to be acknowledged for their contributions to the game and help celebrate Harvey Norman Women in League Round this weekend.