Allana Ferguson Is Going To Change The Way We Watch Rugby League
Do not underestimate Allana Ferguson.
And while you're at it forget what you think a Rugby League player should look like.
To the untrained eye she's a 23-year-old, bubbly, blonde, beach babe from the Shire. But peel back the surface and you've got one of the most fierce sportspeople in this country. And trust us when we say she's also going to change the way we watch Rugby League - move over boys, the women now have a seat at the table. This traditionally male dominated sport is moving into 2017 with a progressive message of inclusion and thanks to Allana that gap is edging closer and closer.
We chatted to the Jillaroo in our latest episode of MTV Fit Sessions with adidas Australia about her love of the game, how she dominates a male dominated sport and how a women's NRL comp is going to change the way we watch sports.
When did you first start playing Rugby?
Allana: "I started playing league when I was about 5 and my older brother and Dad played as well so I was always on the sideline. I literally begged mum to let me play."
What opportunities were there for young girls to play Rugby when you were growing up?
Allana: "There were zero opportunities, I was playing with the boys. But girls can only play from 5 - 12 years old."
What happpened when you had to stop playing at 12?
Allana: "I thought it was so wrong that they wouldn’t let me play, I didn’t even watch NRL for 2 years because I was so upset."
Is there still a disparity between women and men in the sport?
Allana: "I’ve been lucky since I started playing the game has grown so much, I’m fortunate that I get to play now. I think the more media attention we get, the more people are like ‘I want to see this’. I debuted last year for the Auckland 9s and the response was crazy when people came up to talk to us about it. It sucked that they were shocked that we could play so well but it was good to get that recognition. The Sharks live streamed our game and Fox ended up playing it 12 times with commentary."
What is your message to young girls wanting to play male dominated sports?
Allana: "My dream was always to play NRL and I’m actually doing it now, so you just have to figure out what you want and go for it. Just talk to people and get people on your side. You’ve just got to always know that there’ll be someone better than you to learn from!"
Do you ever think women and men will be able to play against each other in Rugby League?
Allana: "I don’t know, size in contact sport is a big thing but I think in terms of brains girls are better!"
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