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The Maggie M: Rugby league considers award name change to honour woman pioneer

The Australian Rugby League Fee (ARLC) will contemplate altering the identify of the ladies’s Participant of the Yr medal for ladies from the “Dally M” to the “Maggie M” in recognition of certainly one of rugby league’s all but forgotten female pioneers.

The Ticket can verify any change is not going to influence this yr’s awards ceremony, on account of happen at Randwick Racecourse on Wednesday, September 28.

At the moment, each female and male Gamers of the Yr are rewarded with a medal named in honour of one of many recreation’s nice male gamers: Herbert Henry ‘Dally’ Messenger. He performed within the early 1900s when the league break up from rugby union to turn out to be knowledgeable code.

Dally Messenger in Australian colours.
Dally Messenger’s identify has been synonymous with rugby league greatness. Now, he could possibly be joined by Maggie Moloney.(Equipped: Sean Fagan)

In 1921, in what was believed to be the primary publicly contested recreation of rugby league for ladies, 15-year-old Redfern participant Maggie Moloney thrilled the 30,000 paying spectators by scoring 4 tries within the match.

Moloney turned one of many largest information tales of the yr for her efforts and was dubbed the ‘feminine Dally M’. The legend of the boys’s recreation was a part of the gang that day.

This weekend, a big mural of Moloney, by road artist Sharon Billinge, has been unveiled within the Redfern road the place she honed her expertise taking part in with neighbourhood kids and her brother Bryan, who went on to play for the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Redfern Rugby League historian Katherine Haines has been trawling by way of the data to uncover the forgotten story of the pioneering girls who had the backing of the boys at NSW Rugby League HQ after they initially proposed a girls’s competitors.

A mural of a female football player
Maggie Moloney was a pioneer of girls’s rugby league in Australia. (Equipped)

Earlier than kick-off, although, within the match that shot Moloney into the media highlight, the NSWRL directors withdrew their assist and threatened to ban any registered male gamers who turned as much as lend their assist.

It was ‘Dally’ Messenger who defied the ban, taking the chance at half-time within the girls’s match to launch a rugby league ball bearing his personal identify.

Forward of this weekend’s actions across the unveiling of the Moloney mural, ABC Sport requested the NRL whether or not it might contemplate altering the Dally M medal for ladies to the “Maggie M” medal.

In response, it offered this quick assertion:

“Maggie Moloney was a pioneer of girls’s rugby league and her story will all the time have an indelible place within the historical past of the sport in Australia.

“Any potential future determination to rename any award is a matter for consideration by the Australian Rugby League Fee.”

The Ticket has since realized a doable identify change has been added as an agenda merchandise for the ARLC’s subsequent assembly scheduled to coincide with the NRL and NRLW Grand Finals, which shall be performed on Sunday, October 2.

An old newspaper clipping showing women playing rugby league
Maggie Moloney in The Solar newspaper, 1921.(Equipped: Katherine Haines)

Moloney’s granddaughter, Karen Heard, stated her grandmother maintained her love of the sport all through her life, by no means lacking a Rabbitohs recreation.

“She completely liked rugby league, and completely liked Souths, the Rabbitohs,” Heard stated.

“I can nonetheless bear in mind the instances… she’d be within the lounge room, and I’ve to say there was all the time a bit of drink beside her, a bit of ale, and perhaps a cigarette as nicely.

“They’re the issues which have given us such a superb feeling concerning the lady she was.”

Heard says her grandmother was humble however sturdy, with a resilient streak that she handed on to her 5 grandchildren. She says Moloney would love the NRLW competitors, now in its fifth season.

“She would like it. She can be shocked as a result of 100 years in the past, it was on the paddock.

“There’s a number of politics in it and there was a number of politics 100 years in the past, so she would acknowledge that and doubtless say nothing’s modified.

“However [she’d be] very proud that ladies had been being revered and are within the recreation.”

Heard was requested to channel her grandmother and picture how she may reply if she’d been informed that, at some point, the participant’s finest and fairest medal may carry her identify.

“‘Actually? Is that needed? We have one – the Dally M, do we want a Maggie M?’ – and we might then be pushing her to have a Maggie M,” Heard laughed.

“She’d be saying, ‘what’s all this? It is a recreation’, however she liked it, she would like it.”

The house and away season involves and finish for NRLW groups this weekend. It could possibly be the final time the feminine participant of the yr wins an award bearing the identify of a male champion.

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