EL Letter: The Double Movement gives a voice to forgotten female footy fans

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Dear Electric Ladies, readers, web surfers and whomever else this may concern,

We are two young entertainment lawyers from Sydney who absolutely love our rugby league. Nikki passionately supports the boys from Bondi, the Sydney Roosters, and Calli bleeds red and green for her beloved South Sydney Rabbitohs. Being lawyers and fanatical fans of rival teams, we are never short of something to say about this game we love. In fact, we love talking about footy so much that we decided to start our very own rugby league podcast – The Double Movement.

For those of you who are new to the rugby league lexicon, our title The Double Movement is a quip. First and foremost, the term originates from the occasionally controversial and always penalisable play in rugby league where a player’s momentum does not allow them to score a try and they instead reach out to score via a secondary movement. To that degree, the name also recognises our implicit campaign to increase female engagement in rugby league and sports in general – our own ‘double movement’ to shift momentum back towards the passionate young female fans.  

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So, why did we decide to start a footy podcast? Why not just do what most fans do? Scream in the stands, engage in the usual footy chat at the photocopiers, or watch the game down at the local pub?

When we were kids, the National Rugby League (NRL) did a fair bit to welcome us into the fold. We would venture out to our local grounds and take part in all the ‘family friendly’ activities. And of course, we both loved waiting in the stands after each match, throwing up our hands in anticipation of a player coming over and giving us a high five, or even better, signing our merchandise. Great days!

But as we both grew up, we somehow became the forgotten fans, the forgotten voices in the stands. What was worse, people stopped taking us seriously as fans. We are not the starry-eyed 10 year olds in the grandstand anymore. We understand that, in many ways, rugby league is a sport that inherently appeals to men and is largely marketed to appeal to men. The advertisements, the sponsors, and sometimes even the selection of merchandise; it all speaks for itself.

It has been, and still is, quite disheartening to go from being the adorably passionate kiddie fans, to the ‘bandwagon’ fans who apparently only attend games to swoon over the players. We have both grown quite tired of having to prove our passions.  

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The NRL as a governing body has made some excellent ground towards recognizing the impact of women in the game. In 2017, the Australian Jillaroos won the World Cup, female participation in rugby league increased by 37 per cent and we saw the birth of the official women’s NRL competition. We have also seen the ‘Women in League’ round grow into a season long affair, celebrating athletes, journalists, mothers, wives, girlfriends and young daughters within the rugby league community.

However, despite these incredible efforts, there is still something missing. A significant lack of attention is being given to our own demographic. What about the twenty-something year old female fans? Too often, we fall outside the scope of official recognition for our contribution to the game. It’s as if the NRL spent the 90’s and 00’s grooming a whole generation of young fans – but then forgot about 50 percent of them when they grew up. We are two people within that 50 percent. We are the untapped market.

So, instead of uselessly complaining about being lost in the mix, we decided to be the change we want to see in the game. We created The Double Movement podcast – our own space to passionately talk about footy, to analyse the game we love and hopefully ignite the same passion in other young female fan and fanatics alike to get involved. To help these isolated sports enthusiasts feel included in the game once more.

We are Calli and Nikki. We are The Double Movement. We are not journalists. We are not athletes. We are simply fans. Fans who love chatting about our favourite teams in our favourite sporting competition.

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We hope that with our own unique spin, we can show the rugby league community the fun-loving value of the young female fan. It would mean the world if you could join us on this journey. Subscribe to us on iTunes, follow us on Instagram and get on board this (double) movement!

Lots of love and kindest regards,

Calli & Nikki xxx

Download and listen to The Double Movement on iTunes and follow them on Twitter and Instagram