This year, the Rabbitohs Women in League jersey is honouring a woman named Maggie Moloney.
Moloney made her debut in the world’s first public match of Women’s Rugby League in 1921.
In 1921, Moloney was just 15 years old - the ‘youngest and lightest’ of the two teams - when she became an overnight sensation after scoring four tries for the Metropolitan Blues (local Redfern team) who defeated the Sydney Reds, 21-11. The Sun dubbed her the ‘Dally Messenger of the Blues’.
The advent of the NSW Ladies Rugby Football League in 1921 was ground-breaking in so many ways. Never had women’s sport (still in its infancy) achieved so much attention. It was Sydney’s biggest press story of the year. The teams played under the same rules as the men and wore the same attire. The crowd of 30,000 spectators was a then record for a women’s sporting event billed as the main attraction.
But sadly, for Moloney, her Rugby League career was short-lived. In 1923, the ‘ladies league’ disbanded due to too many obstacles and opposition. Moloney was broken-hearted.
Maggie’s brother played first grade for the Rabbitohs in 1921, and her nickname was 'Souths Moloney' because she was so fond of the Rabbitohs.
This jersey has been designed by artist Sharon Billinge, and Maggie's story has been brought to life in collaboration with Historian Katherine Haines.