Women go into battle for the Gridiron tri-nations cup

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The Ladies Gridiron League is holding its inaugural tri-nation cup in Melbourne and despite the glamour associated with the sport the revised league is trying to put the focus back on sport.

The Ladies Gridiron League has been relaunched, re-outfitted and is in the midst of it's first international competition, now the players say it's time they were taken seriously as athletes.

Australia, New Zealand and the United States will face off in a round-robin style playoff match in Melbourne tonight in the augural tri-nations of the league.

The league was founded in 2012 as an extension of the controversial US Lingerie Football League, but was relaunched this year with a stronger focus on sport.

Last year a petition was circulated calling for a ban on broadcasting league matches, claiming the skimpy outfit of competitors were sexist and detracted from serious female athletes.

Stevi Schnoor, middle line-backer for team USA, has played rugby for 16 years representing the Canadian national women's team.

She said all female athletes get undue attention on their outfits, and while she admitted the outfits aren't modest she said they're not as bad as others.

"You have to look at other sports that are played outside, beach volleyball things outside they wear a hell of a lot less than we do and we take more flack than they do."

New Zealand running back Rain Mako holds an international boxing title, a domestic kick boxing title and even challenged Laila Ali - daughter of Muhammed - to a fight. 

She said female athletes have to try twice as hard to achieve legitimacy in male dominated sports.

"We do have to work harder to gain the same respect as our male counterparts unfortunately."

The Ladies Gridiron League tri-nation series starts at the State Netball and Hockey Centre 7pm Friday the 5th of December.

Source: SBS, World News Australia

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