Cronulla Sharks Chairman Dino Mezzatesta and Football Club CEO Barry Russell, together with representatives of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, met with the National Rugby League Chairman Peter Beattie and CEO Todd Greenberg on Tuesday, to discuss the exclusion of the two Club's from the inaugural NRL Women's Premiership.
Both Clubs insisted on this meeting with the NRL to understand the reasons why they were unsuccessful in their respective applications for a licence, to discuss the assessment process and to detail the plan for the women's premiership moving forward.
As widely reported, although we are pioneers and innovators in women's rugby league, our Club's application fell short namely due to the perceived smaller 'geographical reach' in relation to the other applicants.
Although we expressed our extreme disappointment regarding the NRL's decision to not grant our Club a licence, despite many years of hard work developing the women's game, the NRL indicated they would not revise their decision for the imminent season.
While the NRL wouldn't provide a guarantee as to the format of the 2019 competition, they committed to reviewing the structure upon the completion of this year's season and to make any necessary modifications.
As part of this review, the clubs that have been granted a licence will be held accountable for the delivery of a successful and sustainable women's premiership team and program.
Following the meeting today, Barry Russell, Cronulla Sharks Football Club CEO said; "We will continue to build our women's program and strategy. We will work to develop and support women in rugby league, with the view of securing a licence in the future.
"Women's rugby league remains an essential element of our Club and we will continue to provide pathways for women and girls to participate in the game they love."