My First Rugby League: Mary Konstantopoulos

13 May 20, 6:42PM 0 Comments

Written by Stuart McLennan

Mary Konstantopoulos is the founder of the highly regarded podcast and digital platform “Ladies Who League”. She has been a pioneer in promoting women’s sport and in particular women’s rugby league.

Apart from the podcast, Mary writes articles for NRL.com, the Roar, the Guardian and Sydney Morning Herald. She is a member of the Advisory Board for Women@Eels, a player sponsor of Aimilia Kozari from the Greek Women’s Rugby League team and is arguably Australia’s strongest advocate for women’s rugby league.

First time I saw rugby league

I can’t remember the first time I watched a game of rugby league, but the first season I remember was 1998.  I wanted to spend more time with my dad and brothers on the weekend and they spent plenty of time watching footy, so I did too. I picked a team, the Parramatta Eels, and have never looked back.

First time I saw rugby league

I have never played rugby league!  As a little girl growing up in Sydney, I had no visibility of women playing rugby league so I never even considered it.  I played other sports, like basketball, softball, waterpolo, swimming and hockey.  I now joke that I talk rugby league, I don’t play.

Ladies Who League

First team I followed

I first followed the Parramatta Eels because my dad and brothers did too.  The first player I fell in love with was Clinton Schifcofske and I have never looked back!

First player of any era I would pick in my dream team

As a Parramatta Eels fan, I have to say, Peter Sterling!  Even though I never saw him play, every Parramatta Eels halfback has been compared to the great man.  It would be wonderful to get the opportunity to see him play and I have no doubt he would be an asset to any dream team.

First non Tier 1 country I would you like to see win the World Cup

I would love to see Tonga win a World Cup.  For far too long, Australia has been the dominant nation in the men’s competition.  I think international rugby league has suffered because of that – there has been a lack of competition and it has been boring.  But we saw the impact of Tonga beating Australia… and that’s just the beginning.  When more players pledge to play for their home nations and these countries become more competitive, it will not only drive more interest in international rugby league but also push those tier 2 countries to invest more money into the game as it becomes a more legitimate pathway.

First thing I would change in rugby league

This is a hard one! I would love to the RLIF working closer with the rugby league countries across the world to establish a consistent international schedule for men’s and women’s which would fit in and align with domestic competitions.

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