It has been a massive year for women's rugby league in the shire – and next year is set to get a whole lot bigger.
The Cronulla Sharks’ home ground at Southern Cross Group Stadium, Woolooware has been chosen to host matches in the women’s rugby league World Cup in November 2017.
Shark Park will hold pool matches and semi-finals of the competition starting on November 16.
For the first time in rugby league history, the women’s World Cup will be played concurrently with the men’s tournament, with both finals to feature as a double header in Brisbane on December 2.
World Cup CEO Andrew Hill said the announcement would provide the women’s game the perfect platform to showcase their skills on the world stage.
“It’s only fitting these gifted athletes get the opportunity to showcase their skills on a global stage and we see next year’s women’s rugby league world cup as a game charger for the sport,” he said.
“Female participation in all forms of rugby league is the fastest growing category in the game and women’s international rugby league has made great strides forward in recent years.
“To have both the women’s and men’s finals played on the same day, at the same venue will conclude what will be the greatest ever rugby league World Cup.”
The women’s World Cup will involve six teams from three continents: England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
The final team will come from either Fiji, Tonga, Samoa or the Cook Islands following the qualifying series to be played next month, with the draw for the World Cup to follow.
It has been a massive year for women’s rugby league in the shire, with Cronulla Caringbah taking out the Sydney Metropolitan Women’s Rugby League premiership with a golden-point extra-time win over Greenacre.
Cronulla Caringbah also provided a number of players, including the club’s Australian Jillaroos contingent of Ruan Sims, Sam Bremner, Allana Ferguson, Corban McGregor and Maddie Studdon, to the Cronulla Sharks side that won the inaugural women’s rugby league nines match last month.
NSW Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres said the women’s World Cup would be a great drawcard for fans.
“It’s a huge coup for NSW to make the women’s World Cup happen and Sydney is the perfect location to welcome visitors to enjoy these exciting matches,” he said.
“Our female players are bringing global recognition to the game and I encourage all fans to attend the women’s World Cup next year.”