Business Sydney | National Rugby League

Women in leadership

10th August 2021

Special thanks to National Rugby League for partnering with us.

As leading advocates for gender equality in the workplace, Business Sydney is pleased to partner with our members the National Rugby League (NRL), in celebrating its upcoming Harvey Norman Women in League Round with a digital forum on Tuesday, 10th August.

Play Your Part is the theme for the 15th year of the Harvey Norman Women in League Round, an opportunity to break down gender stereotypes by including, respecting and engaging women and girls in the game and broader society.

Everyone needs to play a part in achieving gender equality and we thank all who attended our digital event ‘Women in Leadership’ in partnership with the National Rugby League.

Keynote addressed by Andrew Abdo, CEO of the NRL and a panel including Kate Jones, ARLC Commissioner and former Queensland State Minister, Matthew Halliday, Managing Director and CEO Ampol and Samantha Bremner, current rugby league player and Harvey Norman Australian Jillaroo.  

Andrew Abdo 

Chief Executive Officer, National Rugby League

Chief Executive Officer, National Rugby League

 Prior to that Andrew held the position of Chief Commercial Officer for the NRL for 4 years, primarily responsible for revenue growth. During this period, Andrew led the growth of the game’s total revenues by 12% per annum (growing from $334m in 2015 to $528m in 2019).

Together with Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V’landys AM, Andrew played a pivotal role both in the NRL becoming the first national sporting code to return to the field following the suspension of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

With a background in corporate finance, Andrew has led the commercial growth of the sport through innovations in sponsorship, events and digital experiences, including the creation of Magic Round and establishing an in-house creative agency for partners. He believes sport is about entertainment, about bringing people and communities together, and in helping deliver social change. 

South African born, Andrew is a qualified Chartered Accountant, holds an MBA and enjoyed a successful finance career in Johannesburg before he and his family migrated to Sydney in 2012 where he took up a role with Deloitte Australia before joining the NRL.  

Samantha Bremner 

Current Rugby League Player

Current rugby league player and Harvey Norman Australian Jillaroo

Samantha Bremner is a current rugby league player with a decorated career at club, state and country level. She was named captain of the first-ever St George Illawarra NRLW team in 2018 and has represented both New South Wales and Australia, winning two World Cups with the Jillaroos. In addition to her leadership roles during her playing career, she joined the Dragons coaching staff for a stint in 2019 during time off the field following the birth of her first baby. She is also broadening her experience behind-the-scenes in her role as NRLW liaison.

Sam is an important ambassador for women’s rugby league and continues to advocate for players and the competition. 

Kate Jones

ARLC Commisioner

ARLC Commissioner

Kate Jones has more than 20 years experience in senior government and leadership positions. Kate served as a Minister in the Queensland Government for more than eight years in a range of portfolios including State Development, Education, Tourism and Major Events and Innovation and Climate Change.

Kate was also the Minister for the Commonwealth Games working closely with key industry partners and all levels of government to successfully deliver Queensland’s largest ever event, the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Throughout 2020, Kate was instrumental in working with many national sporting codes to ensure they could continue to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic and she led the government’s economic response for the tourism and events industries.

Kate has also served as a member of the Cabinet Budget Review Committee developing and implementing Queensland’s state budget and overarching economic strategy for the state. Kate has a Masters in Environmental Law (ANU) and a Bachelor of Arts, Journalism Major (QUT).

Throughout her career Kate has also served on a number of government and non-government boards at both a state and national level. Kate has strong skills in strategy development and partnerships, crisis management, media relations and communications.

Matthew Halliday

Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Ampol

Managing Director & CEO, Ampol

Matthew Halliday was appointed Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer in June 2020. He joined Ampol in April 2019 as Chief Financial Officer.

Prior to joining Ampol, Matt enjoyed a successful career with Rio Tinto spanning 20 years, where he held senior finance and commercial roles across several divisions and geographies.

Matt is a Chartered Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Western Australia and an MBA from London Business School.