Women's top 40 concept under review for 2019 NRLW season

The make-up of the women's pathway in 2019 is yet to be confirmed but the elite "top 40 system" is one of many topics under review after a successful inaugural Holden Women's Premiership.

Australia-based players trialled to reach the elite group in February and were listed as marquee recruits ahead of the NRLW season, along with contracts tailored to their individual needs.

Of the 40 players chosen in March, 10 missed the NRLW through injury or personal issues.

At least five of those players, including Caitlin Moran, Jayme Fressard and Corban McGregor, were picked up by NRL clubs before succumbing to injury.

Former Jillaroos prop Bec Young was among five players who were not picked up by a club, while Jasmin Allende and Tahlulah Tillet suffered season-ending knee injuries in the weeks following the trials.

The remaining 30 players all featured in the NRLW. Clubs can officially begin negotiating with players about extending their current deals or negotiating with rivals.

"There's some conjecture around whether we need a top 40," Jillaroos coach Brad Donald told NRL.com.

"There's been about three or four concept options raised if we have to choose a 40 again it's very subjective. We needed one in the first year most definitely as a talent equalisation concept.

"We showed great care to make sure there were other countries in that and we were growing the talent pool for the NRL.

"It was great to see most of those players go on and play in the NRLW and contribute."

Donald pointed out the current system is the women's equivalent to the NRL salary cap.

Under the NRLW recruitment rules in 2018, clubs could only recruit up to 15 players from both the Australian top 40 and New Zealand top 20 squads in total.

"We aren't at that stage yet [of a salary cap] but we're looking at three or four different options," Donald said.

"We're showing great care about growing. We'll see what happens over the next few weeks and whether that's a top 10, 40 or 60."

Other topics expected to be discussed in the coming weeks include the players' workload in 2019 after calls for an extended NRLW competition and reality around possible expansion.