Australian Jillaroo, Karina Brown, A True Hero On & Off The Field.
Updated: Dec 17, 2018
Karina Brown has been instrumental in developing women’s Rugby League at a grassroots and national level. She has already accomplished significant professional playing achievements including playing twice in two World Cup winning Jillaroos squads, captaining the State of Origin Maroons and making history competing as a Sydney Roosters player in the inaugural NRL Women’s competition and making the Grand Final against the Brisbane Broncos. Outside of her achievements in the game, Karina is doing a lot for current and future females wanting to pursue a career in or simply just play the great game of rugby.
Capping off her first NRLW season with the Sydney Roosters just a couple of weeks ago, Karina reflects on the success of the first women’s NRL season as “a lot of commitment, dedication and passion for the women’s game that was put in by the past and present players and staff to ensure this moment finally came.” It’s been a long time coming for all of the players who had the opportunity to be part of the four inaugural games which made up the total season. Karina recalls being a disappointed thirteen year old girl finding out that there were no future pathways for her to continue playing rugby league after being fortunate to play in the under 12s.
Growing up Karina never thought this would be a reality for her but “now young girls can not only play all the way through school, they can aspire and dream to be professional rugby league stars.”
In 2012, Karina set out to form a Women’s A-Grade team on the Gold Coast to assist in growing the opportunities for females to play at the Senior Club level. She captained the team for four years, leading them through two premiership victories in 2015 and 2016, this achievement was four years in the making and the Club has since continued to take the title for two more years. Karina recalls the teams first premiership win as “one of my proudest memories in the Game” and the four-year winning streak, “a testament to the culture we created back in 2012, that still holds strong today.”
With a drive to ensure the development of women’s rugby league in Queensland, Karina and her partner, Vanessa Foliaki decided to leave the Burleigh Bears to create the East Tigers in Brisbane. They’ve both dedicated a lot of their time to developing another competitive senior women’s team and continues to be a rewarding experience for them both, “we are developing the next generation of players.” Despite both having extremely busy schedules, Karina and Ness often attend local junior competitions to talk about future pathways and opportunities for players. “Ness and I love passing on our knowledge and skills and watching players improve week in and week out” It’s apparent to all who meet Karina, how passionate she is about the game and the values and lessons taught to you through football about commitment and resilience that not only benefit players on the field but also better you as a person outside of the sport.
It takes commitment and passionate women like Karina to really make a difference for future generations of women and girls, to ensure that there is opportunities for them to play at the professional levels and forge athlete careers. It’s clear we are definitely headed in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go. Alarmingly, ‘The Line’ recently found that women’s sport only receives 7% of Australian TV Sports programming and 9% on Sports News… which sounds even worse when you consider that horse racing has a higher percentage!
Karina is extremely switched on to the issues at hand, “the only way for our product to improve is to be given the support we need to become full-time athletes. If we are able to work on our craft day in and day out like the men – then of course the skill, the speed and the quality of the game will improve which will lead to more sponsors and commercialization.”
There isn’t much Karina isn’t doing to ensure girls and women have the same opportunities as men in rugby league and it’s not uncommon to find an article referencing her name as an icon for young girls to look up to. “I know I have such an important responsibility to the game and to women to ensure I lead by example on and off the field. It is about showing young girls that they can do whatever they want to do in life, we are breaking down barriers and social norms and I couldn’t be prouder driving this change.”
We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Karina, it’s been a fantastic past few months. She has her eyes set on a 2019 premiership win with the East Tigers and Sydney Roosters, another year as the Queensland Maroons captain and hopefully taking home the win next year as well. Off the field, Ness and Karina just got their first puppy together and hope to tick off some travel bucket list destinations soon!
We couldn’t be prouder to work with this extremely driven woman who is an inspiration to all who have the opportunity to hear or meet her. If you’re Brisbane based and want to hear more, the Aspley Hornets are hosting a Women in Sport Breakfast on Friday 26th of October. The event includes Karina and Vanessa Foliaki from the Sydney Roosters, AFL player, Tayla Harris and our Director, Carlie Green-Medina. Support the event and purchase your ticket today: https://www.stickytickets.com.au/77072/women_in_sport_breakfast.aspx
To learn more about Karina visit: https://www.agencyxtalent.com.au/karina-brown
To keep up with Karina, give her socials a follow, through the various links on her page.
Alternatively, to discuss opportunities to work with Karina contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 521 605.
Agency X Talent: www.agencyxtalent.com.au