Key PointsWallaroos players said Rugby Australia told them there wasn’t enough money for full-time contracts.Rugby Australia had previously said it would offer players full-time contracts by 2025.The Wallaroos have said it’s time for the governing body to properly invest in the women’s game.
Wallaroos players have lashed Rugby Australia for inequities between the women’s and men’s national programs, claiming the organisation has lied to their team.
Current Test players have shared a statement on social media, saying it’s time for the governing body to invest properly in the women’s game and referenced the success of the Matildas, who finished fourth in the football Women’s World Cup.
The statement said Rugby Australia told players there was no money for full-time playing contracts and criticised the amount paid to recruit league star Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii.
“You told us flying anything beyond economy was too costly, then you flew the Wallabies business class on a trip shorter than ours,” the Wallaroos said in the statement posted on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
“You told us full-time contracts were in the pipeline, that there wasn’t enough money to keep the men in the game, let alone us. Then you paid $5 million for an NRL player.”
It also pointed out that their coach, school teacher Jay Tregonning, wasn’t even full-time while Wallabies coach Eddie Jones had multiple assistants.
“You said our program would go professional and our coach will be full-time. How many coaches has Eddie taken to the World Cup?
“You continually say we don’t have enough resources and yet we all saw the World Cup send off for the Wallabies.”
The letter followed a day-in-the-life style Instagram video starring the partner of a Wallabies player, which was posted on Rugby Australia’s official page.
Wallaroos player of the year Georgie Friedrichs reposted the reel, saying “Wallabies WAGs getting more funding than the Wallaroos team”.
WAGs is an acronym that refers to wives and girlfriends of high-profile athletes.
Other stars also made their feelings clear, with senior forward Sera Naiqama adding:
“Reason it ruffles our feathers is because the treatment isn’t the same. This post is purely salt in the wound for Wallaroos. 32 of us selected for World Cup last year but this wasn’t offered to our partners? Before you attack, let’s not forget in June the lads flew business class to South Africa yet we, their female equivalent, endured a 14-hour flight in economy to Canada less than 12 hours after our test against the Black Ferns. You deleted the post … but we kept the receipt.”
A spokesman for Rugby Australia responded to the Wallaroos’ criticism on Monday, saying the governing body was “taking steps” to invest in the women’s game, with Australia hosting the women’s World Cup in 2029.
“Rugby Australia will continue to involve the Wallaroos playing group, through RUPA (Rugby Union Players Association), in all planning and developments regarding investment in Women’s Rugby,” the statement said.
“We are taking steps towards a fully professional future for the Wallaroos and investing more broadly in women’s rugby across national and community competitions – and we know we have a way to go.
“In line with Rugby Australia’s commitment to incorporate players on this journey, RA will continue to meet with the elected Super W representatives from each Super W team, the RUPA Women’s Player Director, and the Wallaroos leadership group to listen and work together, to support our female athletes and their coaching and support teams.”
The Wallaroos demanded Rugby Australia invest properly in their team and development pathways ahead of the World Cup.
“It’s time for the chairman, board and CEO to prioritise the future of Australia women’s rugby and allocate adequate resources,” they tweeted.
“The future of our game hangs in the balance. It’s your move Rugby Australia.”
The male team’s expenses appear to be adding up as the Wallabies prepare for next month’s Rugby World Cup in France, with multiple training camps and a trip to Arnhem Land before their departure to Paris.
In February the governing body announced it would begin contracting Wallaroos stars on a part-time basis, with contracts for 35 elite players on three tiers.
Rugby Australia has claimed they are pushing to have Wallaroos contracted full-time before the 2025 Rugby World Cup.