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Leading the Next Gen of Female Members

While most 21-year-olds are out clubbing on a Saturday night, die-hard South Sydney Rabbitohs Member Christie-Maree Chiha would rather be at ANZ Stadium cheering on the Cardinal and Myrtle.

In a situation many Souths faithful can relate to, Christie was wrapped up in Red and Green the moment she was born, so much so that she took part in the famous re-admission rally in November 2000 before she could even say 'Glory, Glory'.

"When I was young my family all went for Souths and I was just born into it. My dad, brothers, uncles and aunties all go for Souths and have since the 1960s. It was either Souths or nothing," Christie explained.

"I was there when we marched, I was only two years old and I can't remember it, but my whole family made sure every one of us was there to support the Club we love so much." 

But just being a supporter of the Club wasn't enough for Christie, she wanted to prove her passion in a different, more 'official' light.

So along with her brother, Christie signed up for Membership in 2011 and hasn't looked back since.

"Membership started in 2011. My older brother was getting one and since we went to all the games anyway, we just thought we'd make it official," said Christie.

"I feel like Membership makes your support official, it really proves your passion. Not only that, but I like having my seat in The Burrow, and seeing the reaction of my friends when they see all the supporters cheering and chanting songs.

"I go to the games with my brother and I've begun dragging my boyfriend to games too. He's a Bulldogs supporter but I'll be getting him Rabbitohs Membership for Christmas!"

With the introduction of the Club's first ever Women's team in 2018, Christie cited her fellow female Rabbitohs as a great source of inspiration for young girls everywhere who want to both support their Club as well as participate in physical activity.

"I think it's pretty special all the young girls of today have a new set of role models to look up to and have an opportunity to participate in Rugby League in the future."

Christie on the future of Women's Rugby League

"I think all women should support their Rugby League Clubs," she said.

"It might be perceived as being male-dominated, but to me, it's a great community filled with different kinds of people from different kinds of backgrounds, who support different teams for different reasons.

"I go with all my girlfriends to the footy because it's very inclusive, and we have a great time supporting our team and riding the highs and lows with them.

"I haven't gotten a chance to watch many of the Women's games yet, but it's an amazing concept and I really look up to players like Nakia Davis-Welsh, Maddie Studdon and Taleena Simon just to name a few.

"I'm currently playing touch football but if I had a chance to play Women's Rugby League when I was a kid I definitely would have.

"I think it's pretty special all the young girls of today have a new set of role models to look up to and have an opportunity to participate in Rugby League in the future."

Hailing from the Hills district in western Sydney, ANZ Stadium was fairly close to the Chiha family, but since moving to the Central Coast in 2015, the commute to the Rabbitohs' home ground has had a few kilometres added to it.

But the hour and a half trip to see her beloved Rabbitohs doesn't look to be stopping Christie anytime soon, having already travelled to Suncorp Stadium and AAMI Park to support for the Red and Green and even watching games when overseas.

"I moved to the Central Coast from The Hills District in 2015. When I lived in Sydney I'd travel to the Gosford game whenever we'd play up here, so I know what the commute is like and I drive down each week to see the boys play.

"I'm currently in Umina and I travel to as many games as I can - home and away. I've been to Brisbane and Melbourne over the years as well and Townsville and New Zealand are on my bucket list in the near future as well."

"It was either Souths or nothing."

Christie on her family's love for the Club

Having been a Member for nearly nine years now, Christie summed up the inclusiveness of Membership in one simple sentence.

"It's so great to be a part of something like this," she said.

"I still have vivid memories of Round 19, 2012 against the Roosters. My dad wanted to go because we were down with two minutes to go, but my friend and I refused to leave. We went right to the sideline and cheered the boys on as 'Reyno' (Adam Reynolds) scored - it was incredible.

"I love watching them because my parents like watching them, my brothers grew up playing Rugby League and it's a connection to my family. I get to be social at the games, meet the players at events as well, I've been immersed in it my whole life.

"I'll be a Member until I die."

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