Queensland Rugby League (QRL) and world-leading resource company, BHP, will embark on a three-year community partnership to promote inclusion and diversity.
A desire to develop vibrant communities and grassroots engagement is at the heart of an unlikely partnership between Australia’s second largest business and the Queensland Rugby League.
QRL Director, Renita Garard, joined BHP representatives Melissa Johnson and Edan Stolberg in Mackay for today’s announcement, where she spoke passionately about the enormous potential of the community-focused alignment.
“To team up with an organisation of the stature of BHP is a major coup for rugby league in Queensland,” Ms Garard said.
“From our early discussions, it was very clear that there was a strong connection between our organisations.
“Like us, BHP is passionate about all sectors of the community; so it’s particularly satisfying to have them backing our Indigenous and women’s programs.”
BHP will feature on the back of the Indigenous training jersey worn by the Queensland Maroons, as well as the sleeves of the Queensland Women’s team.
Their support extends to the Intrust Super Cup, with BHP to proudly present ‘Get in the Game’ Country Week, as well as the Indigenous Round in July.
A key component of the partnership will focus on welfare, with BHP and its communities able to tap into the game’s wellbeing resources.
“BHP recognises how important rugby league is in our state and we want to do our part to help grow the game in its heartland,” Mr Stolberg said.
“One of the key drivers for us, when we built this partnership with the QRL, was to look at how we could support female participation in rugby league,” Ms Johnson added.
“We are thrilled to be directly supporting the Women’s State of Origin team, and to be able to work alongside elite players like Mackay’s Brittany Breayley.”
Today’s announcement brought together some of the state’s most promising players, including Harvey Norman Queensland Women’s star Breayley and Mackay Cutters hooker Jayden Hodges.
A Mackay Magpies junior, Breayley is one of the rising stars of the rapidly-growing women’s game.
She is a current Queensland and Australian representative, and last year played a key role in the Brisbane Broncos’ NRL Women’s Premiership success.
Breayley said she was excited about the start of the new season and the opportunity to further advance her career at club and representative level.
“It’s a huge honour to be here in my home town today for this announcement,” Breayley said.
“It really does show just how far the women’s game has come in recent years, and I can’t thank BHP enough for getting behind the game that we all love so much.”
Hodges, who has previously played for the Cowboys and Sea Eagles in the NRL, is lining up for another season with the Cutters in the Intrust Super Cup.