The St George Illawarra Dragons are proud to announce the signings of Hannah Southwell and Teina Clark for the NRL Holden Women's Premiership.
Both utilities have played for New South Wales, while Clark has represented both the Australia Jillaroos and New Zealand Maori Ferns.
- Dragons secure Jillaroos trio for Women's Premiership
- Marquee quartet further boosts Dragons' Women's Premiership squad
- Dragons sign two more for NRL Holden Women's Premiership
- Dragons sign four local juniors to Women's Premiership ranks
Southwell's rise through the women's rugby league ranks in particular has been nothing short of remarkable.
The Kotara Bears junior was the youngest ever female to make her debut in the W-League, when she played for the Newcastle Jets at just 15 years old. She has also played for the Under-16s and Under-19s Matildas as well as state cricket.
In 2016 she transitioned to rugby sevens – where she played for Australia – before transitioning back to rugby league this year.
Her selection for NSW Country at the recent National Championships paid instant dividends when she was selected to play in Ben Cross's victorious NSW Origin team.
"I never thought I reach this stage in rugby league at all. At the beginning of the year, I only just made the CRL Newcastle team, then just made the Country team and was lucky to play well enough to be selected for the Blues," Southwell said.
"I didn't think it would happen this quick for me but I've loved every opportunity I've received and I'm very humbled to sign with the Dragons. I've come full circle now."
Clark is one of the most experienced members of the Dragons' NRL Women's Premiership squad after making her debut for NSW in 2006.
The Jillaroos utility also has the rare distinction of being selected for the Kiwi Ferns and Maori Ferns as well as the Jillaroos over her distinguished career.
The Turangawaewae junior recent featured for NSW City at the National Championships, and like marquee signing Raecene McGregor comes from the Cabramatta Two Blues.
"It's been a long process for women's rugby league in general to be recognised and I'm very grateful for the opportunity and to be a part of the first NRL Women's Premiership," Clark said.
"To play with Raecene at the highest level will be cool too. She's one of the fresh, new breed coming through and has a lot to offer."
Dragons Women's Premiership coach Daniel Lacey was delighted by the two latest additions to the squad and the sporting pedigree they'll provide to the Red V.
"Hannah is someone fans should be really excited about. She's a gifted athlete who has basically achieved anything that's been thrown in front of her," Lacey said.
"To have the list of achievements she has at just 19 years of age; it's beyond me how she's even been able to accomplish what she has.
"I have seen her step up at the highest levels already for [New South Wales] and seen her get the job done. The bigger the challenge, the better she will get.
"Teina comes with a huge rugby league resume and what she'll bring to the club is plenty of experience and versatility," Lacey added.
"She's played a number of positions over her career and brings a lot of grunt each time she plays. She's an aggressive player and someone who doesn't back down."
The Dragons' Holden Women's Premiership squad now sits at 16 and will be completed by Tuesday, July 31, with training scheduled to begin on Wednesday, August 1.
Further signings will be announced in the coming days once contracts are officially formalised.
- New South Wales Origin (2006, 2008-11, 2014)
- Australia Jillaroos (2007-10)
- NRL All Stars (2012)
- New Zealand Kiwi Ferns World Cup squad (2013)
- New Zealand Maori Ferns (2018)
- New South Wales City (2018)
- New South Wales Origin (2018)
- New South Wales Country (2018)
- Australia rugby sevens (2016)
- Mini Matildas (2014)
- Young Matildas (2014)
St George Illawarra's NRL Holden Women's Premiership squad (so far):
- Kezie Apps
- Talia Atfield
- Sam Bremner
- Georgina Brooker
- Teina Clark
- Keeley Davis
- Honey Hireme
- Rikeya Horne
- Raecene McGregor
- Talesha Quinn
- Oneata Schwalger
- Anneka Stephens
- Jessica Sergis
- Hannah Southwell
- Shakiah Tungai
- Holli Wheeler