NRL to women: You are the wind beneath our wingers, the goddesses of war and peace

The NRL has launched an ad campaign saluting the contribution women make to the sport behind the scenes.

The campaign – “wo-manifesto” – has been created by MJW. According to MJW, the campaign “is designed to break down female stereotypes as well as acknowledging the amazing contribution of women at grass roots level. The campaign showcases volunteers and mothers but also a female physiotherapist and a referee as part of a wider strategy to connect with female audiences.”


  • Agency: MJW
  • Director: Simon McRae
  • Creative Director: Marrianne Little
  • Copywriter: Marrianne Little
  • Art Director: Justine Metcalf
  • Account Director: Lucy Cunningham
  • Producer: Alex Mooney
  • Production house: Orangewhip Films


  1. Dean Vowles
    15 Jun 12
    3:59 pm

  2. This is disastrously bad, borderline sexist, and a complete misunderstanding of the target audience. In a climate where league players are better known for gang bangs, I would’ve laid low.

  3. beckstuff
    15 Jun 12
    3:59 pm

  4. Tinkling piano music in an ad always sets off alarm bells. So does the use of slow motion.

    This doesn’t win me over, but then, I’m a bit cranky like that.
    A lo-o-o-o-ong way to go, IMO.

  5. Notmyrealname
    15 Jun 12
    4:14 pm

  6. Nice work, ladies!

  7. Dee
    15 Jun 12
    4:32 pm

  8. Patronising much? I vaguely remember the AFL doing something similar years ago (I could be wrong) – I agree with Dean Vowles.

  9. Joc
    15 Jun 12
    4:45 pm

  10. If this is meant to counter the NRL’s appalling track record when it comes to the treatment of women, they have a long way to go.

  11. Wilhelmina Farfaraway
    15 Jun 12
    4:46 pm

  12. Speaking on as a man about to go under the knife and become a lady I loved this ad!!!

  13. My Beanie is My Crown
    15 Jun 12
    4:46 pm

  14. Nice crafting of words and motion. Congratulations team MJW

  15. Judith OLeary
    15 Jun 12
    5:15 pm

  16. I love this ad its well written and a great look at the male dominated sport of NRL. Well done.

  17. Where's Tina
    15 Jun 12
    5:21 pm

  18. Poetry, now this? Hollywood, what’s going on up there?

  19. Ann
    15 Jun 12
    6:10 pm

  20. Nice touch

  21. Mum
    15 Jun 12
    6:56 pm

  22. I like it. It is emotionally disarming to see the soft underbelly of the NRL for a change.
    Powerfully written, I hate to admit it but it my eyes welled up.

  23. Kate
    15 Jun 12
    6:58 pm

  24. Works for me.

  25. Kate
    15 Jun 12
    7:02 pm

  26. My boys plays play football, and i have to tell you there’s alot of behind the scenes stuff that happens. And alot of these women don’t get any recognition whatsoever. My boys have always been thankful i run around to football and training with them – but i see alot of women that don’t get any thanks at all. Good on you NRL.

  27. Footy hater
    15 Jun 12
    7:06 pm

  28. I hate football. But I like that they did this advert.

  29. KD
    15 Jun 12
    8:13 pm

  30. That canteen lady looks like the canteen lady at my old club!

  31. Mummabear
    15 Jun 12
    9:52 pm

  32. I love this ad. Its very moving. Im a mum and i work hard to make my children successsful too! Thanks for noticing us, I really appreciate it!

  33. Straight Shooter
    15 Jun 12
    10:53 pm

  34. Couldn’t get Rusty to narrate obviously … So they got a soundalike.

    Still works though … Plinky plonk piano and all.

    Well played NRL.

  35. CosmicNibs
    16 Jun 12
    8:32 am

  36. Nice, but blatant rip from Proctor and Gamble here.

  37. MAD Mum
    16 Jun 12
    8:58 am

  38. A Positive Lovely little ad to recognise all the hard working woman.
    How wonderful to the the industry and the NRL embracing the cause.

    I work very hard and enjoy a small amount of time with my son each Sunday helping him realise his dream with the Avalon Bulldogs. Yes I’m in the industry and I love it!

    Thanks MJW

    Shame on the knockers. get out to a game sometime.

  39. League of Women
    16 Jun 12
    9:51 am

  40. Thank you for the poetry and the positive presentation. If this is the NRL of the future? Bring it on!
    Sharks forever!!!

  41. League Wife
    16 Jun 12
    4:28 pm

  42. Touching, powerful and beautifully executed.
    Yes the NRL is a blokey blokes world and we put up with the stereotypes and the feminist dribble. but it wouldn’t be what is is without the girls in the clubs helping out every week :)

  43. Brick with Eyes
    16 Jun 12
    4:57 pm

  44. Comments 1 & 4
    There is nothing sexist or patronising about saying thanks to my mum for helping me and the team for the last three years. She is a goddess.
    Your comments are sad and vile. These people are doing the Job the NRL desperately need and you drag it back down in the gutter.
    Eastern Suburbs Rugby League

  45. James Brown
    16 Jun 12
    8:13 pm

  46. This is a mans world.
    But it wouldn’t be nothing without a woman or a girl.

  47. Sort
    17 Jun 12
    2:19 pm

  48. Wow that is stunning.It is emotionally disarming to see the soft underbelly of the NRL for a change. 

  49. Lawson
    17 Jun 12
    2:35 pm

  50. Good to see writing is not a lost art.

  51. mumbrella
    17 Jun 12
    2:47 pm

  52. For the record, I should point out that “Lawson”, “Sort”, “Brick With Eyes”, “League Wife”, “League of Women” and “MAD Mum” share the same IP address.


    Tim – Mumbrella

  53. mumbrella
    17 Jun 12
    2:49 pm

  54. For the record, “Mum”, “Kate” and “Footy hater” all share the same IP address.


    Tim – Mumbrella

  55. Copycat
    17 Jun 12
    5:52 pm

  56. Little bit too close to P&G’s Proud Sponsor of Mum’s for my liking

  57. Lawson
    17 Jun 12
    10:09 pm

  58. Very poetic. Very moving

  59. Rob
    18 Jun 12
    9:18 am

  60. Where are the women actually playing rugby league? Sorry but this is patronising vomit. “Wind beneath our wingers” I need a mint to get the taste out of my mouth..

  61. Nicky Bryson
    18 Jun 12
    9:20 am

  62. What about the other women in league? You know, the players? The women who work just as hard as men at yet earn in a whole year what their male counterparts take home in a month…

  63. Sport for Women
    18 Jun 12
    9:43 am

  64. ‘To ALL the women in League”?!?! So according to the NRL women don’t actually PLAY league? WOW.

    Not to detract from all these awesome women who do support the game in this way, you are all amazing, but where’s the support for the women who play?

    From this you wouldn’t know that the QLD and NSW women are playing a State of Origin match this Saturday in Penrith. A match, incidentally that is supposed to be part of the women in league round.

    Also, where are the female fans? No wonder the AFL is leaving you for dead.

  65. Matermind
    18 Jun 12
    10:26 am

  66. Wow… that stinks. Womanifesto is more like Whoa Man This is Festersed. The NRL has a great product but consistently awful advertising… this last batch on the back of the putrid poems of Mothers Day.

  67. Jess
    18 Jun 12
    11:20 am

  68. I guess the token shot of a woman referreeing was to cover the actual sporting angle – if you look really closely you can see it’s a women’s game :)

    This would be a lovely ad if it was targeted towards all volunteers not just the ones of the female variety. But instead it implies that the women are there to do hold the men up and do the “thankless tasks”.

    If the point of this ad is to get the mum’s of junior players back onside in thinking that rugby league is ok for their sons to play, I’m disappointed to say I think it will probably work.

    But for those of us not in that situation it’s pretty laughable. Especially since the creative’s behind it are most likely the one’s putting up all the positive comments on this post :)

  69. Matermind
    18 Jun 12
    11:27 am

  70. … incidentally how does depicting women in tuck shops as queens of the canteen plus a raft of other menial roles likely to “break down female stereotypes” one would have thought that it would serve to reinforce a stereotype

  71. Sport for Women
    18 Jun 12
    11:53 am

  72. @Jess… I did notice that on a second look. But I had to squint, they’re not actually in focus.

    To follow up, here’s an ad from netball that celebrates all women in the game. This is how you do it:

  73. Bra burner
    18 Jun 12
    12:24 pm

  74. I sincerely hope that people are watching this ad in 40 years time to say, I cannot believe how women were patronised and led to believe that being in service to men was a noble pursuit. Just as a master pats his dog on the head for obeying him, this ad reaffirms womens role in the game.

    It would have been preferable and more credible if the Board of the NRL spent their big media $ on supporting women for leadership roles or promoting the womens game.

  75. Alex
    18 Jun 12
    1:08 pm

  76. I’m a mum and the ad speaks me – nice work.

  77. Brand Panda
    18 Jun 12
    5:17 pm

  78. Right on Dean and Bra Burner.

    This ad says “You women just keep on doing the sh&##y little backyard jobs, stapling, canteen and the like, and we’ll continue to receive the glory, the salaries and the ‘sideline action’ – coz we can”

  79. Fat Chef
    18 Jun 12
    7:54 pm

  80. Brand Panda – because you’re an advertising w@%ker…..what is a sh%$tty little job to you, is a real job to real people. Do you feel the same way about the receptionist at your office ? Your views show that you belittle any job that doesn’t have an expense account. So who’s got the issues here?

  81. Matermind
    18 Jun 12
    11:11 pm

  82. Oh seriously Fat Head… sorry Chef, what a silly retort to fair criticism about this patronising crap of an ad… In answer to the question posed to Brand Panda…You do buddy.. big time

  83. huh?
    19 Jun 12
    3:36 pm

  84. I don’t remember an AFL ad like this. More info?

  85. bob is a rabbit
    2 Jul 12
    4:37 pm

  86. Patronising and sexist.

  87. Johnny
    10 Jul 12
    11:40 am

  88. Nice to see the NRL astroturfers are out to play again.