2023: Lonnie Gilroy

Writing the Rugby League Film:  Defining ‘The Greatest Game of All’ Through Genre

project outline

As a multimillion-dollar cultural force in Australia, rugby league’s cinematic portrayals remain under-researched. Friedman (2020, 39) writes: “Film and television productions anoint athletes as iconic illustrations of what our society deems, for better or worse, some of the best parts of ourselves.” The cultural impacts of rugby league should not go unexamined. 

Lonnie’s project asks the question of whether films in which rugby league is a central component constitute a discernible ‘rugby league’ film subgenre. This research project consists of an exegesis, including a textual analysis of rugby league films utilising a film genre studies framework. As part of a Masters of research project at the University of Central Queensland, this project also involves the writing of a rugby league feature film screenplay. This screenplay is research-led, in that the research conducted into rugby league films (through a genre lens) informs and grounds the screenplay. Rather than writing a rugby league screenplay to prove whether the genre exists, Lonnie conducts research
firstly into the weight of such a claim, with screenplay serving as evidence of conclusions. These elements, creative artefact and exegesis, combine to form an overall thesis.

In examining Rugby League films to determine the defining features of this subgenre (if indeed such a subgenre can be said to exist) and whether Rugby League films feature distinct qualities not found in other sports films this project will illuminate films already made and inform the next generation of Rugby League screenwriters.