Cronulla Sharks’ Toby Rudolf has opened up on sexuality, following the Manly Pride jersey controversy.

Cronulla Sharks forward Toby Rudolf has supported the introduction of a Pride round in the National Rugby League (NRL) in response to Manly’s Pride jersey uproar that saw seven Manly players withdrawing from Thursday’s game against the Roosters. 

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The Sharks prop spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald, declaring that a pride round would be a special occasion that should be celebrated by the rugby league and the LGBTQI community. 

Sexuality Is Fluid

Cronulla Sharks’ Toby Rudolf. Image: Instagram

Rudolf openly spoke about his past sexual experiences. He stated that while he identified as heterosexual, he has not shied away from sharing his love for everyone, irrespective of their gender.

The Sharks star openly spoke about sexuality, stating that it was “fluid.” Rudolf mentioned growing up and being raised by “quite a few gay and lesbian community members.” He added that his uncle and godmother are both gay, and that there was a lot of love to be found within the queer community. 

“Sexuality is very fluid. I’ve been out and kissed many gay men, kissed many straight women and kissed many gay women,” Rudolf said. 

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The Sharks forward asserted that he was not a “one-stop shop”, and that he wanted to share as much love as he could with everyone. “You could say I’m open to both genders but only attracted to one of them,” he said. 

Pride Round

Cronulla Sharks’ Toby Rudolf. Image: Instagram

Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys has said that the NRL would consider a Pride round that could happen as early as next year, a move that was completed supported by Rudolf. 

“We are very proud that we are a game for everybody,” V’landys told the Herald on Tuesday. 

“It was inclusive back then and it is inclusive now. It’s important that every boy and girl and man and woman can go to the game and feel they can be treated the same as everyone else,” V’landys said. 

Rudolf had stirred up controversy last year in a post-match interview with Fox League when he said he was planning to celebrate a win with “probably about 1000 beers”, and would go to (Cronulla bar) Northies to “try and pull something, anything will do.” 

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He was later warned by NRL CEO Andrew Abdo about his language, with a notice to “respect women”, to which Rudolf responded, “At the time of that interview, I never said ‘women’.”

Rainbow Wave

Hundreds of supporters donning rainbow-pride gear attended Brookvale Oval on Thursday night to show their support for the LGBTQI+ community in the Roosters v Manly clash.

One fan wearing a Sea Eagles pride jersey and beanie held a sign which said, “I love Manly. Love is love.” 

The ‘Manly Seven’ were asked not to attend the Round 20 clash for security reasons. 

Manly chairman and owner Scott Penn revealed the players who boycotted the game against the Roosters have agreed to wear a pride jersey next season, following consultation. “Yes, that’s the message they were very clear on –  let’s work together,” he said.



 

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