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The Karina Brown Challenge is in its first year in 2022 and the woman who it is named after joined to discuss that honour and the development of the female game ahead of her second season as part of the Titans NRLW side.

Can you share how important it is to have such a female-only competition on the Gold Coast for 11- and 12-year-old girls (Karina Brown Challenge)?

It is really important. It is another step in the pathway and provides an opportunity for all girls to come and try the game we love - especially for those who may not have felt confident participating with the boys previously. It is about growing participation in the female game and offering a safe and fun learning experience for the girls. They can be taught the correct way to tackle, to catch the ball, throw the ball, and to get tackled and get up unafraid. The program also promotes team work and instills the values of inclusivity and kindness.

Can you describe the privilege of having the naming rights of the new competition and what it means to be a pioneer for women’s rugby league on the Coast? 

I was extremely honoured when Brad Donald (Australian Jillaroos Coach) approached me about naming it after me. Growing the game has been a passion of mine since I began playing. I was the founding member of the Burleigh Bears women’s program, which has been a leading club over the last decade, and a flagship home for the growth of women’s rugby league on the Gold Coast. To be aligned with the under 12s all girl competition brings me a lot of joy. Getting to see how far the game has come and helping create all these new and wonderful opportunities for the next generation is very special.

How proud are you to see this opportunity for 12-year-old girls and how far the female game has grown since you were this same age and growing up?

Extremely proud. All I wished as a 12 year old girl was to be able to play footy, but there was simply no pathway. Now these girls get to start playing in all girl competitions from 12 years old, all the way through to NRLW, State of Origin and the the Jillaroos. It is a clear pathway, they can see it, they can believe it and they can make it happen if that is what they dream of doing. By the time these girls come through, we will be full time athletes. It is incredible and it is a privilege for me to be part of it.  A huge thank you to Gold Coast Rugby League and all the foundation clubs who have been involved in this years challenge. It is only going to get bigger and better from here!

Catch Karina and her teammates in the 2022 NRLW season, starting soon. Join as an NRLW Member today! NRLW Membership

Acknowledgement of Country

Gold Coast Titans proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout South East Queensland.