Dear Members,

Having considered all the factors, the Parramatta National Rugby League Club Pty Limited (PNRL) has decided that PNRL will not be submitting a proposal to participate in the 2018 NRL Women’s Premiership.

I want to provide our valued Members some background and explanation regarding our decision.

Background:

At an NRL Club CEO’s Conference on 5 December 2017 the NRL announced that it would be introducing an NRL Women’s Premiership in 2018. The NRL advised that there would be a maximum of six teams (with a minimum of four teams) and the competition would be played in the last two regular-season rounds of the 2018 NRL competition and the four weeks of the 2018 NRL Finals Series.

On 21 December the NRL sent all clubs a Request for Proposal (RFP) document with information about how to apply to participate in this new competition, with the final Lodgement Date for the RFP submission eventually being 16 February 2018. 

The Board of Directors and senior management of PNRL reviewed the RFP from the NRL regarding the 2018 NRL Women’s Premiership as part of making an assessment about whether our Club would apply to participate in the inaugural NRL Women’s Competition.

Explanation:

The 2017 season was a transition year for our Club whereby we have worked to institute constitutional reform, appoint five new independent Directors, implement appropriate governance and decision-making mechanisms and work with Parramatta Leagues Club regarding our long-term financial stability.

We are continuing to rebuild trust with our stakeholders, including the corporate community, and generating legitimate stability within our Club. We are working to build a Club with the solid foundations of good governance and financial management, while continuing to make our number one operational priority the support of our Football Program led by our Head Coach, Brad Arthur.

Given the urgency of the RFP process, current initiatives being undertaken by the Parramatta Group (Parramatta Leagues Club and PNRL) and the fact the 2018 financial planning and budgeting process had been completed in October 2017, our Club does not have the flexibility to engage in the 2018 NRL Women’s Premiership.

This decision has been taken after much rigourous discussion and analysis. Our Club is very committed to the increased participation of women and girls in our game.

Our Club is currently involved in women’s Rugby League across multiple areas including:

  • Parramatta Junior League:
         - Our female participation numbers have increased by over 37% in the past year with a substantial anticipated increase again in the upcoming 2018 season.
         - Our female–only teams over the age of 14 years will nearly double in 2018. 
  • NSWRL Women’s Competitions (open age):
    Clubs from within the Parramatta Junior League District participating in the open-age 2018 NSWRL Division 1 Women’s Competition, namely:
         - Wentworthville Rugby League Club
         - Cabramatta Rugby League Club
         - Guildford Rugby League Club

 In addition, there are two Clubs from within the Parramatta Junior League district participating in the open-age 2018 NSWRL Division 2 Women’s Competition.

  • NSWRL Women’s Competitions (Junior Representative teams):
    Participation by the Parramatta Eels in the following NSWRL female competitions:
         - Tarsha Gale Under 18 competition in 2017 and 2018.
         - Proposed inaugural Under 16 club representative carnival in 2018.
  • Female Touch Football and Oztag in the Parramatta District:
    Thousands of women & girls play Touch Football and/or Oz tag across the Parramatta district either in mixed or female competitions.  
  • Parramatta Eels Ladies Coterie:
    To be launched in 2018.

As outlined above, our commitment to female participation and engagement is substantial and will ensure we have a significant foundation from which to build once we are ready to enter the NRL Women’s Premiership.  

Our Club totally supports the development of an elite-level Women’s competition. The timing is simply not right for our Club.

PNRL is most interested in revisiting our potential participation in an NRL Women’s Premiership from season 2019.

The Parramatta Eels Club wishes the NRL and the participating clubs much success with the 2018 NRL Women’s Premiership.

Regards, 

Bernie Gurr
Chief Executive Officer