Rugby League

Fans applaud ‘historic’ day for rugby league

The NRLW will expand to six teams in 2021, with the Gold Coast Titans, Newcastle Knights and Parramatta Eels all set to field sides in this year’s premiership.

The three clubs join the Dragons, Broncos and Roosters for the fourth iteration of the women’s competition, which will also be the first without the New Zealand Warriors.

The Warriors, who were one of the four foundation NRLW sides, made the decision to withdraw from this year’s season, citing uncertainty around border restrictions.

On Friday, NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said he was “confident” the Kiwi side would be able to re-enter the NRLW as part of the league’s plans to field eight teams next year.

Fantastic to see, the #NRLW looking cracking this year #comeoutcharging

Amazing to see the Comp expanded by two teams. Hope Warriors can get back in 2022 along with a Storm side!! Great step in the right direction for the NRL. #NRLW

Big day for NRLW – some really good HNWP players with a wider pathway

so so excited to see the #NRLW comp continue to grow 🤩💗

Newcastle, Parramatta and the Gold Coast are in the #NRLW in 2021.

Six teams, seven weeks.

Bring it on! via @[email protected]

The Titans, Knights and Eels are on board for what will be the longest NRLW season yet. The season is set to be played over seven weeks rather than four, featuring 18 games in total rather than seven.

The Broncos won their third consecutive NRLW premiership in 2020. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

“Today is a really special day for the game. Women’s rugby league is the fastest growing part of our sport, and it’s exciting to be in a position to expand the competition after the success of the last three seasons,’’ Abdo said.

“The NRLW competition has produced some of the best athletes in Australia, it’s captivated a new fan base and today’s expansion will give more players the opportunity to play in an elite competition.”

“I want to thank the Titans, Knights and Eels for their commitment to women’s rugby league. It’s an historic day for all clubs and an exciting day for their fans and of course the ongoing commitment of the Broncos, Dragons and Roosters.”

“This is a very special moment for our Club, our city and our region,” Newcastle Knights CEO Philip Gardner said of the news.

“It’s reminiscent of when the Club was founded back in 1988, when a young and willing group of players got their chance to create a piece of history. This is the next big step forward.

“In addition to hopefully welcoming back some of our region’s elite, we are looking forward to creating opportunities for players to represent their town, their region, their state and their country in the months and years to come.”

The NRLW will begin alongside round 23 of the men’s competition.

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