At the end of the NRLW (National Women’s Rugby League) season, the best player will be recognised with an award named after a man. Voted on by a panel of experts, the NRLW’s most valuable player wins the Dally M female player of the year, and while Dally Messenger is justifiably a storied giant of rugby league, many believe the women’s game is overdue its own champion.
It is recognised that the brilliant teenager Maggie Moloney, who became a star in the fledgling women’s rugby league in the 1920s in Sydney was so good she was labelled the “Dally Messenger of the Blues”. What better than the Maggie M medal? Even her name offers a nice symmetry to the men’s medal.
Sporting opportunities for a working-class teenager like Maggie were scant to say the least. When a women’s rugby league competition was mooted, her enthusiasm was palpable – “Oh, Mum!” Debuting before 30,000 excited and curious spectators at the Sydney Showgrounds in September 1921, the Sydney Reds and Metropolitan Blues played under the same rules and wore the same football attire as the men.
The indisputable star was the Blues winger, Maggie Moloney, who scored four tries and was “the idol of the crowd”. She was awarded two medals, for best and fairest player and most points scored. When the Sun’s front page declared her “the Dally Messenger of the Blues”, it cemented her status as the women’s game’s first star. But unlike Messenger, Maggie’s stardom and talent never had the chance to flourish.
100 years on, the NRL is in a position to address this. We can only imagine Messenger himself would approve. He would surely enjoy the NRL placing Moloney’s name alongside his own (as reported by Katherine Haines in the SMH, February 25, 2022).
Compensation granted for Vanessa, Kobe Bryant’s widow
Los Angeles County has lost its lawsuit with champion US basketball player Kobe Bryant’s widow and will be forced to pay as much as $15 million for releasing photos of the aftermath of the helicopter crash in which seven people, including Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna, lost their lives on January 16, 2020.
“I live in fear of my daughters and being on social media and seeing those pictures,” Mrs Bryant expressed during the trial. “Some officers and firefighters have, in fact, shared, on private chats, some photos of the bodies of Kobe and our daughter, taken directly at the scene of the accident.”