Trolls are blasted for falsely claiming international women’s footy star Joanne Lagona was born a man after seeing stunning video of her smashing an opponent

  • The 35-year-old Papua New Guinean represented her country
  • Scored a try and made a big tackle against Australia in 2022
  • That big hit was seized upon by anti-trans people online

Footy fans have hit out at online trolls who falsely claimed women’s rugby star Joanne Lagona was born a man after seeing a video of her taking down a rival in a tackle.

The 35-year-old from Papua New Guinea represented her country and played in rugby union before switching codes to league.

Lagona scored PNG’s only try in their 64-6 defeat of Australia’s Prime Minister’s XIII women’s team in September 2022 – but it’s another great piece of play from that game that caught the attention of the trolls.

At full back, Lagona crushed Australian forward Zara Canfield when she made a line break, picked up her larger opponent and drove her into the grass – and some comments on social media took it as a green light to make hurtful and inaccurate comments about the to make a star .

Joanne Lagona (photo) is a Papua New Guinean star who played for her country in rugby league and also excelled in rugby union

Joanne Lagona (photo) is a Papua New Guinean star who played for her country in rugby league and also excelled in rugby union

The 35-year-old (pictured) scored the only try for PNG against an Australian Prime Minister's XIII women's match in 2022 - but her big hit from that match is now being used by trolls

The 35-year-old (pictured) scored the only try for PNG against an Australian Prime Minister’s XIII women’s match in 2022 – but her big hit from that match is now being used by trolls

The video was posted on the girls’ rugby league TikTok account, accompanied by a caption claiming Lagona played in men’s nine-a-side matches and saying in part, ‘I (sic) don’t decide if she’s a actual biological woman (sic) is’.

The caption continues: ‘Why does this matter to me? My daughters! … like fark I will let any biological male, play against any girl/woman team let a single against any of my daughters.’

The clip was then picked up by American journalist Joel Berry, who is managing editor of the Babylon Bee website, which publishes conservative news satire and has been described as a Christian version of The Onion.

“Women should start refusing to play when a trans player is on the field,” he wrote on social media platform X.

“It’s only a matter of time before a woman is killed from this.”

While Berry found support for his stance, many X-users were quick to disparage his comments.

American journalist Joel Berry was slammed by many X-users for this tweet about Lagona

American journalist Joel Berry was slammed by many X-users for this tweet about Lagona

‘Hate to burst your bubble, but Rugby is one of the few sports in the world that completely bans trans women from playing in the women’s leagues. Her name is Joanne Lagona and she is a biological woman. She plays for PNG women’s team and is also contracted by a women’s team in Japan,’ wrote one.

“This player is actually female with excellent tackling technique,” added a footy fan.

‘@Community Note the player is a cis woman, not a trans woman. This is wrong information,’ said a third.

‘Are you playing? She made a solid tackle. It’s a contact sport,’ wrote another.

‘You’ve never watched rugby? Here’s a few more purely female hits to give you an idea of ​​how normal it is,’ added another commenter, who included a link to more great tackles in women’s rugby.

The PNG star points to a message written on her wrist after scoring her country's only try against Australia

The PNG star points to a message written on her wrist after scoring her country’s only try against Australia

International Rugby League announced in June 2022 that ‘male-to-female (transgender) players are unable to play in sanctioned women’s international rugby league matches’ until the body had further research so it could adopt a more formal policy can implement.

“The IRL reaffirms its belief that rugby league is a game for everyone and that anyone and everyone can play our sport,” the statement read.

‘It is the IRL’s responsibility to balance the individual’s right to participate – a long-standing principle of rugby league and at its heart from the day it was founded – against perceived risk to other participants, and to ensure that everyone be fairly heard. ‘

The NRL’s policy on trans athletes states: ‘We will not tolerate any unlawful discrimination or harassment of a person who identifies as transgender or transsexual or who is suspected of being transgender or transsexual.’