Sharks FINS encouraging female engagement
FINS, a Female Inclusive Network of Sharks, was launched with the aim to provide female supporters with a safe, comfortable environment, a forum where they can talk about the Sharks, support the club they love and socialise with other like-minded women.
A social network that is about driving change and creating greater engagement for women within the sport of rugby league, FINS plans to be fun, social, fair, authentic and inclusive, all with a family feel and atmosphere.
Organised by Gabriella Fitzpatrick and the club's membership team, FINS was launched by Ladies Who League media personality Mary Konstantopoulos, Sharks women's welfare manager Amanda King and long-term members Nicole O'Connor, Lyn Gannon and Kathryn Matthew.
The theme and underlying message was about giving female rugby league supporters a place engage, get together and to celebrate success.
"This network we are looking to create, is a network for women, by women, to support new members and to give them a chance to come in and talk to other members," Nicole O'Connor said.
Konstantopoulos, has seen the role of women in the game and the respect they engender, shift significantly over the last few years.
"I think things have changed dramatically," she began. "If I look back to where I was when I started Ladies Who League five years ago, it was very much a fan of the men's side of the game. That's all I knew.
"I had a limited knowledge of women's roles in the game, but I didn't really understand. Now five years later I can point to many women across the game who are in a variety of capacities. It's important as NRL fans we get a lot better in sharing these stories," Konstantopoulos said.
"I think the importance of an initiative like FINS is just making it clear if you are a woman, there is a place for someone like you in the rugby league family, however if you want to be involved, whether it is as a member, as a part of our clubs, as a cheerleader, however you want to be involved, there is a place for you and I think making that message really clear, is positive."
Amanda King, mother of Eels NRL player Cameron, has also seen the acceptance of women in a range of different roles, alter significantly since the days of driving her son to junior games and supporting her husband's coaching endeavours.
"You grow to love the game, grow to understand it and the people involved in rugby league are loyal, down to earth people," Amanda King said.
"The FINS initiative is fantastic, to help everyone bond. From a female involved in the game, it's come a long way."
The Sharks have a goal to build FINS in to the best social network for women who love sport across Australia.
The Sharks will connect the community of FINS through Facebook groups, a monthly newsletter and a variety of events, beginning with the FINS Pre-Match Function on August 18 when the Sharks play the Cowboys. FINS will also aim to participate in community initiatives that coincide with Sharks Have Heart when possible.
Female Members (including Member Council), Ambassadors, including media personalities Mary Konstantopoulos and Jessica Yates, female staff members, players' partners and wives. All are welcome to become a part of FINS.
And for the men, encourage your girlfriend, your wife, your friends and your mum, let them know about FINS, with the more women involved, the greater chance of ensuring FINS is a success.
Go to the following link to find out more or to register to join FINS for free as a Cronulla Sharks Football Club Member – CLICK HERE