The Rugby Football League and Rugby League Cares are to create a Women’s Rugby League Hall of Fame to celebrate the greatest players in the women’s game.
The Women’s Hall of Fame will sit alongside the men’s Rugby League Hall of Fame, which currently features the 28 players deemed to have been the best of the best since the sport’s foundation in 1895.
The first inductees will enter the Women’s Hall of Fame at a celebration dinner in Wigan on Thursday October 27 – five days before the start of the Women’s Rugby League World Cup – when there will also be further inductions of the greatest male players of all time.
Four years have elapsed since the last inductions into the men’s Hall of Fame in 2018, when Andy Gregory, Johnny Whiteley MBE and Derek Turner joined the existing 25 members.
From this year, players will be inducted into the sport’s most exclusive club on a two-yearly basis.
Consideration is also being given to the creation of a Wheelchair Rugby League Hall of Fame in future years once this discipline of the sport has become more established.
Women’s Rugby League players will be considered for elevation into the Hall of Fame along broadly similar criteria to those of the men’s Hall of Fame: players must have a record of outstanding achievement at the very highest levels; a reputation that transcends the era in which they played; and have made a contribution to the sport that will last as long as Rugby League is played. One of the first candidates is likely to be former Great Britain captain Lisa McIntosh (above).
To be eligible for nomination, players must have: played Rugby League in the UK for at least 10 years and played their last match in the UK at least five years before the date of the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
The selection panels for both the Men’s and Women’s Halls of Fame will be chaired by RFL Chief Executive Ralph Rimmer and will feature a range of people from across the game with knowledge and expertise in their field.
Rugby League supporters will also be invited to make nominations in the coming weeks.
Ralph Rimmer said: “We recognised some time ago that there was a need to revive the existing RL Hall of Fame and make it fit for the future.
“At the same time we wanted to create a Hall of Fame which celebrates the wonderful players who are the best of the best in the women’s game.
“Men’s and Women’s Rugby League have their differences, but the qualities which determine true greatness remain the same – and that’s why the heroes of the women’s game will be judged by the same criteria as the men.
“We are also leaving the door open for a Wheelchair RL Hall of Fame in the years to come. Just as the women’s game has developed massively over recent years, Wheelchair RL continues to grow in popularity and it is important that its greatest exponents are recognised.
“I’m delighted that we are to launch the newly-expanded RL Hall of Fame during a home World Cup, when the eyes of the world will be on the athletes who have it in their power to become future Hall of Famers.
“This is an important day for Rugby League and creates an aspiration for all male and female players to join this exalted band of brothers and sisters in the RL Hall of Fame.”
Rugby League Cares Chairman Tim Adams MBE said: “We feel proud and privileged to be able to celebrate the lasting contribution made to the sport by the greatest players from the men’s and women’s games.
“The young women who are currently making such a fantastic impression in Super League owe a great debt to the pioneers who came before them and the creation of a Women’s RL Hall of Fame is a long-overdue acknowledgement of their talents.
“The RL Hall of Fame Celebration Dinner is a brilliant opportunity for the sport to come together and celebrate all that is good about Rugby League.”