Fiji National Rugby League is finalising plans to stage a women’s domestic competition for the first time in three years.

Six regional teams competed back in 2017 but the FNRL’s Acting Chief
Executive Officer Don Natabe was hopeful a new competition will boost
playing numbers.

“We have 25 clubs in Fiji but there’s a perception – we’re trying to
get more women to participate in male-dominated sports and I think
that’s one of the challenges as well, apart from funding,” he said.

“…We’re looking at six teams in the eastern region of Fiji and the
other six teams in the western region but that initial plan has been
affected and we’re looking at what model could be viable for the women’s
competition, especially with funding setbacks.

“We’re really looking at that inter-zone option or maybe play a State of Origin Cup for the women.”

The Fiji women’s rugby league team, the Bulikula, made their
international debut during last year’s Pacific Test in Sydney, thrashing
the Papua New Guinea Orchids 28-0.

Two weeks later Fiji won a gold medal in the inaugural women’s rugby league nines competition at the Pacific Games.

Despite being overlooked for a place at next year’s Women’s Rugby
League World Cup, Don Natabe believes the FNRL can still capitalise on
their international success.

“We have a good presence in terms of women who are playing in Australian competitions and the NRL women’s competition,” he said.

“For us to build from last year’s achievement, we’re looking at
organising more international games and I know we’re not in the World
Cup for the women’s category but we have expressed our interest in
joining the Emerging Nations World Championship.”

“…We’re also exploring the option of playing an international test and want to continue to contribute to the international rankings for Fiji women.”

RNZ

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