Story & photos Eve Jeffery
Last night marked Byron Bay’s first official Harvey Norman Women in League event with the town playing host to rugby league legends Alan Tongue, Nathan Hindmarsh, Mario Fenech and Petero Civoniceva, but the highlight of the evening was meeting two very special women in league – the two Bonnies.
Nathan Hindmarsh and Petero Civoniceva both coincidentally have beautiful wives called Bonnie and it was the interaction with these charming and gracious ladies that made the event a roaring success.
Both women have been associated with the league through their own work and through their very high profile husbands, long enough to have seen the good, the bad and the ugly, and they are still hanging in there and still have a smile on their faces.
The event held at Byron at Byron was to celebrate the contribution women make to the game and 100 female guests were treated to an entertaining program MC’d by league legend Alan Tongue.
Trish Crews, NRL general manager, community, culture and diversity, spoke to the gathering about the contribution to women in the sport. ‘The growth of female participation right across Country Rugby League increased by 15 per cent in 2012 (2,299 in 2012; 2,007 in 2011),’ said Ms Trish Crews. ‘It’s extremely encouraging to see more women taking up our great game in areas such as the northern rivers, and we’re excited to celebrate the varied and important roles women play in the region at tonight’s Harvey Norman Women in League dinner.’
Nathan Hindmarsh, Mario Fenech and Petero Civoniceva also addressed the 100 female guests. Hindmarsh and Civoniceva acknowledged the input from their wives and both praised their mothers’ stellar efforts for the hours driving them to training, their personal sacrifice for their sons’ careers and always shoring up the flagging spirits of their teenage boys.
The Harvey Norman Women in League Round will see the Telstra Premiership Round 10 competition turn pink next week, with club activities and game-day celebrations including the Cowboys, Panthers, Sharks, Dragons, Bulldogs and Warriors wearing pink playing kits.