Marilyn Levao, Julie Gerchow, Trish Hollands, Sarah Booth, Jess Sommerfeld and Rachael Williamson get ready for the Ipswich Rugby League dinner at Marburg tonight.
Marilyn Levao, Julie Gerchow, Trish Hollands, Sarah Booth, Jess Sommerfeld and Rachael Williamson get ready for the Ipswich Rugby League dinner at Marburg tonight. Rob Williams

Dinner salute to footy women

IN A game that normally celebrates the biggest and strongest of men, Ipswich women will take centre stage at tonight's Harvey Norman Women in League dinner at Marburg.

Around 100 women involved in Ipswich rugby league will attend the function at Woodlands of Marburg along with Queensland league legends Darren Lockyer, Wally Lewis, Ben Ikin, Reece Wesser and Preston Campbell.

The dinner precedes the annual NRL "Women in League" round this weekend and aims to recognise the important role women play in rugby league.

Ipswich Junior rugby League committee member Trish Hollands, is just one of the hundreds of local women that voluntarily give up their time to support the game they love.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to promote the involvement of women and encourage more participation," Ms Hollands said of the first of these dinners to be held in Ipswich after six years of the program."

"We don't do what we do for the accolades but it's nice to be recognised.

Joining Ms Hollands will be Jess Sommerfeld, Norths Tigers senior registrar, Sarah Booth who holds the same position at Redbank Plains and Marilyn Levao the secretary of the West End Bulldogs.

Julie Gerchow, secretary and registrar of the Ipswich referees will also attend as will Ipswich Rugby League employee Rachael Williamson. Many of the women found their way to rugby league through partners or children but have continued on long after family commitments finished.

So why do so many women embrace such a traditionally manly game?

"They become like family," Ms Williamson said of other people in the sport.

"It's so satisfying when you are involved with a kid who starts off in the juniors and ends up playing for the Jets"



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