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Queensland Rugby League is pleased to announce the appointment of respected Indigenous community leader Samantha Bliss as an independent director who will chair the QRL’s Participation Committee.

Bliss is a former Queensland and Australian rugby league representative who has forged an outstanding career in the Queensland Police Service for close to 30 years.

As Queensland Representative Player No. 28, Bliss (nee Ramsamy) is already an active contributor to the game and has a genuine desire to promote and develop rugby league in Queensland.

“I’m really excited about the opportunities and certainly the challenges of growing the game,” Bliss said.

“To be part of the game at this level is really exciting. Obviously back when I was a player, the opportunities weren’t there like they are now for women in rugby league.”

In recent years, Bliss has teamed with Marco Peters and Renae Kunst to develop a successful women’s program in Mackay.

“Just to see young girls come through from those junior age groups and to see them play with the Gold Stars in the QRLW, a sense of pride flows through you because you know they’ve achieved some really good things in the game,” Bliss said.

As a community-minded leader, Bliss is eager to see all sectors of the game thrive.

“I like to see everyone give things a go, but as a governing body we’ve got to be able to provide them with the tools to do that, and the confidence to do that,” Bliss said.

“I would like to contribute my experience where it can be of value and learn from others while serving on the QRL Board, and I know there’s some really diverse people around that table.”

A specialist in child protection and family support with senior management experience, Bliss is well placed to make a valuable contribution across all facets of the organisation, including child safety, member protection and work relating to the QRL’s Female Strategy, Diversity and Inclusion Framework and Reconciliation Action Plan.

Bliss formally begins her service at the QRL’s bi-monthly Board meeting tomorrow as one of five independent directors, which include chair Bruce Hatcher, Renita Garard, Naomi McCarthy and the recently-appointed Cooper Cronk.

Bliss said rugby league would always be close to her heart.

“I still want to remain part of the game because it has been, and continues to be, a big part in my life, and I miss it,” Bliss said.

“I absolutely miss it, although I come out of retirement for those Indigenous carnivals and police games, they are all one offs and it’s really just to get back and play the game that I love, and the camaraderie with team mates.”

Hatcher congratulated Bliss on her appointment.

“As a Board, we have been open about our principal activity, which is rugby league football, and ensuring we have the relevant skills and knowledge that can assist the performance of the Board and its duty to support all sectors of the game in Queensland,” Hatcher said.

“This is why we are delighted to confirm Samantha’s appointment today. She is passionate about participation for all, and she has a strong connection to our regions and communities through her own rugby league and professional experiences.”