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Raiders, Wests Tigers, Sharks, Cowboys to join NRLW in 2023

Canberra, Cronulla, North Queensland and Wests Tigers are set to enter the NRL Telstra Women’s Premiership after confirmation the competition will expand to 10 teams in 2023.

All four clubs have been granted a 2023 licence in an historic announcement made by the NRL on Wednesday. 

The NRLW was due to expand to eight teams next year but the ARL Commission was determined to fast-track the competition with an additional four sides.

"We have a blueprint for investing in the women’s game at all levels," ARLC Chairman Peter V'landys said in a statement.

"We have seen from with the quality of the 2021 NRLW Premiership and the tremendous growth in female participation that we have capacity for sustainable growth.

"The Commission have again demonstrated that the women’s game is a strategic priority. The quality of the club submissions was excellent.

"The Commission had always left the door open to expand to a 10-team competition based on the quality of the applicants, and we have seen that come through both in the success of the 2021 Premiership and the quality and applications made by clubs."

The Raiders, Sharks, Cowboys and Wests Tigers formally applied for licences in April.

All four clubs will now have around 12 months to build a coaching staff and player roster for the 2023 season.

"Today is another exciting milestone in the growth of Women’s Premiership," NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said in a statement.

"The Sharks and the Wests Tigers have strong teams in the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership, and the Raiders and the Cowboys already have strong participation bases.

Abdo: We want the best athletes in the world

"We will continue to work with all NRL Clubs on the plans for further expansion
beyond 2023 and the right time for each Club to potentially enter the NRW Premiership."

The 2022 season will remain with six clubs - Brisbane Broncos, Gold Coast Titans, Newcastle Knights, Parramatta Eels, St George Illawarra Dragons and Sydney Roosters - kicking off in August.

NRLW clubs will have further clarity later around their spending capabilities on players for the 2023 season and beyond once the new collective bargaining agreement is announced.

Currently, there is a modified women’s specific CBA agreement in place for the 2022 season with six teams operating under a $350,000 salary cap for the first time.

Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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