NRL fans are rejoicing, with the restart of the 2020 season kicking off tonight. Among them is Katie Brown, co-presenter of Inside the NRL and Southern Cross University media graduate.
Katie is proof a small town girl can make it big in the sports broadcast arena of Sydney.
Born and bred on the NSW mid north coast, Katie has been with the online TV show since it launched in 2018. The panellists – Katie plus sports journalist Michael Chammas and former NRL player Jamie Soward – debate the hot topics each Monday during the national rugby league season.
“I got a call one day, out of the blue,” she said, reflecting on the experience of being headhunted by NRL.com three years ago.
“They said ‘We’re starting NRL digital and we’d love you to be part of it. Would you consider moving to Sydney?’ This opportunity was too good not to have a go at. It was the best decision I ever made. It’s been unreal.
“I feel quite humbled and in hindsight I’m pretty lucky. I certainly made the right decision.
“My experience shows that a girl from Grafton can compete in a metropolitan market. People appreciate that I am down-to-earth. They find me relatable.”
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Katie also co-hosts Our Way, NRL.com’s weekly program during the women’s rugby league season, and does rugby league sideline commentary for Crocmedia, the largest syndicator of sports radio content across Australia.
Showing her versatility, Katie is also undaunted by presenting live in front of tens of thousands of fans at the NRL’s premier events. She shares stadium Master of Ceremony duties with Glen Hawke – one of Australia’s leading sports announcers – at the State of Origin series, the NRL Finals series, and Magic Round.
It’s a dream come true for Katie whose career goal was to be an onfield reporter for the NRL. Initially she was going to study to be a PE teacher but pursuing a media degree with Southern Cross University changed that.
Hers is a familiar face to viewers of Seven Gold Coast and Seven Central Queensland. Katie earned her stripes as a sports reporter at Seven’s Wide Bay Bundaberg then Rockhampton bureaus, followed by a stint as sports reporter at Seven Gold Coast before landing the plumb job of sports presenter.
“At Seven Gold Coast, I was creating and producing my own sports bulletin and reading off an autocue for five minutes,” Katie reflected.
“Moving to NRL.com and presenting a rugby league show for 30 to 40 minutes where it’s all ad lib, that was a real test for me in making sure I knew what I was talking about.”
Katie says her experiences of working in a male-dominated sport have been positive.
“I’ve felt comfortable. I honestly haven’t had too many negative experiences and everyone has made me feel included. It was on my own bat to make sure I knew what I was talking about. Purely because if you’re enthusiastic and passionate about it, it’s going to come quite naturally to you anyway.”
During the NRL season suspension – which put Inside the NRL on hold – Katie kept herself moviated and fit by developing the NRL Iso Inspo Challenge. a body weight exercise for every letter of the alphabet.
“You can pick your favourite NRL player and you do as many reps and rounds to each letter of their name as you’d like,” Katie said.
“We got it sponsored by Rebel and it’s been really fun for fans to engage with and tag their mates.”
Girl from the bush credits Southern Cross for her success
Katie says her education at Southern Cross University was the best foundation.
“I had so much help at Southern Cross. I say that as genuinely as possible because I didn’t know how to best tackle becoming a journalist. The staff at Southern Cross were like ‘try this’, ‘do this’ or ‘this is how I can help you’. That’s why I’m here; because if I didn’t do the course I would be PE teacher, which is not where my heart was but which I thought was all I was capable of doing.
“The Uni helped me push the boundaries to make sure I was giving myself the best chance. For somebody that didn’t know that becoming a sports presenter or a rugby league presenter was even a possibility, it was the best start.”