ARLC announce expansion for NRLW, Women's State of Origin

ARLC announce expansion for NRLW, Women’s State of Origin

NRL Media | March 15, 2022

The Australian Rugby League Commission has approved the expansion of the NRL Telstra Women’s Premiership, Ampol Women’s State of Origin and the introduction of a salary cap system which will increase average salaries by 28%.

To ensure new teams have time to prepare and allow further talent development, the 2022 NRLW season will remain at six teams before expanding to eight teams in 2023 and 10 teams in 2024. The Commission will determine new licences by July this year.

For the 2022 season, NRLW teams will move to a salary cap system with the salary cap set at $350,000 per team. The new system will increase average salaries by 28% and clubs will also be given the ability to contract up to two marquee players as full-time employees with additional salary cap dispensation. Private Health insurance will also be covered for all contracted NRLW players.

In 2022 Representative payments will increase substantially. State of Origin match payments will increase from $4000 to $6000 while All Stars payments will increase from $1,600 to $3000. From 2023, the Ampol Women’s State of Origin will expand to a 2-game stand alone series, with both games aired live on free-to-air television.

The Commission has also approved substantial increases in investment of junior female participation and pathways programs, including national age group championships as well as coaching and referee academies.

NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said the Commission is committed to a sustainable growth strategy of the women’s game from grassroots participation to the elite level.

“Today is an exciting day for the women’s game. We’re expanding to eight teams in 2023 and 10 teams in 2024. We’re also introducing a salary cap for next season and creating the opportunity for more players to access full time employment through their club,’’ he said.

“The expansion of the NRLW competition and the introduction of the salary cap will ensure players earn substantially more income from our game.

"We’re experiencing significant growth in television audiences and that’s down to the players and the Commission will continue to invest and support that success.

“Importantly the announcements today are about ensuring a sustainable NRLW competition. We’ve always been very clear that we would ensure our playing talent is deep enough and our clubs are prepared before expanding. The lead-in time ahead of the next expansion phase will ensure our clubs have the right infrastructure in place and there is even more depth to our playing talent.”

Mr Abdo said all existing NRL Clubs would have the ability to submit applications to join the 2023 or 2024 seasons. The NRL will work with interested clubs over the coming months with the Commission to make final assessments and approve licence applications in July.

The Commission will focus on investment in female pathways to ensure the playing talent pool continues to grow.

“Today is not just about the elite game, it’s also about building stronger participation and pathways," he said.

“The Commission is focussed on building the women’s game from the bottom up. Not just encouraging more participation as players but also more female coaches and female referees. Right across the game we will continue to work to create pathways for women regardless of whether they want to play, coach, referee or be an administrator.”

Mr Abdo thanked the NRLW playing group and RLPA for their input throughout the process.

“I want to thank our players. They were incredibly patient while we ensured we could launch a 2021 season which gave everyone the opportunity to play and we’ve had really constructive conversations with the RLPA about the next steps in our growth strategy," he said.

“I also want to acknowledge our partners. Particularly Telstra along with Nine and Fox Sports who are incredibly committed to growing, investing and promoting the women’s game.”


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I do truly hope that Penrith apply for a NRLW licence.

With the wealth of young women in the PDJRL, it would be a massive boost to provide a pathway for them to a professional career in Rugby League.

Returning to the Tarsha Gale Cup provides under 18’s a pathway, but for now it ends there. The options are to end their pathway into Rugby League (usually by transition to another sport), or to sign with one of the existing NRLW teams.

It’s hard to argue that the largest Rugby League nursery should have a pathway for it’s female participants.


Did anyone catch the Titans v Roosters game?

The poor Titans Fullback got dragged into touch but in doing so the Rooster defender accidentally caught the ‘under jersey’ to get her over the sideline…

To her credit, simply got up, corrected the outfit issue and played on.

I would love to see a replay for 1 reason, the touchy (male) look was priceless, I don’t know if he was in shock, embarrassed (couldn’t be with the extended stare) or a virgin :laughing: :rofl: :rofl:

Anyway, it’s a wonder not more of that type of accident happens, these girls are starting to really rip in, I thought there was even going to be a stink at one point.

Although they don’t have the skillset all round of the blokes, the contact can surely be measurable in comparison. It’s not every day a bloke can watch a women’s footy game and be shocked by the brutal hits on show…it’s improved out of sight !

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Absolutely @Kevin.

I have been watching the NRLW matches on Kayo and while it’s not the same as the NRL competition, it is quite unique in what it offers. The matches are very physical and the intensity is very high.

While we don’t have a team in the NRLW right now, I have decided to adopt the Titans NRLW team as the one I am keeping an eye on.

I am disappointed that the Panthers have not made a statement regarding the NRLW applications yet. Many teams have already expressed interest (Raiders, Sharks, Wests, Cowboys, Bulldogs, Souths…) but nothing from the foot of the mountains. It seems the NRL is very interested in seeing the Panthers apply, as it would love to tap the vast Juniors nursery we have here.

The Masked Panther has mentioned this in the Western Weekender this week (article excerpt eblow). Hopefully the Panthers will be interested in applying. I think for 2023 the Panthers and Raiders would be a good addition, both with huge nurseries to feed into a Women’s competition.

Girl power

The ARL Commission will award four new NRLW licences by July this year, with the competition to expand to eight teams in 2023 and 10 teams in 2024.

While there’s been no formal discussions, I’m told the NRL is very keen for the Panthers to have a team in the competition to help ensure the growth of the women’s game in western Sydney.

SOURCE: Masked Panther: Fletch honoured in home town – The Western Weekender

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It just so happens that the mighty Sainties have a pretty good squad…just like the blokes, so plenty of availability.

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I know I will get shouted down for this but I cannot approve of women playing rugby league (or several other sports for that matter e.g. boxing).

Why Albert?

Gotto admit, I don’t find Women’s cricket entertaining in the slightest and it just doesn’t look right for some reason. Initially with the footy it was similar, but the last 2 games i’ve watched have been very entertaining based on the quality of the footy.

Guess I’m just an old fashioned guy Kevin. :grinning:

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Not going to shout you down @AlbertRoss, it’s your opinion and who are we to criticise.

There is definitely a demand for Women’s rugby league. There are competitions in both the NSWRL and QRL, at junior levels and in junior representative levels (such as the Tarsha Gale Cup).

The Women’s participation is the fastest growing sector of the Rugby League spectrum and the NRLW was a natural extension of that. The fact that in the next two years the competition will grow by teams (around 80+ players) is a testament to that.

I feel over the next 5 years, we could be looking at a full sized competition with 17 teams. With TV coverage expanding for the NRLW it will only help increase it’s profile.

But to each, their own.

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I’m a bit like that myself, but over the years with the brainwashing being done about individualisation, i.e. “You can be whoever you want to be darling” regardless of whether your a boy/girl - man/women or these days other have really worn me down and i couldn’t be bothered with opinions, it just creates arguments.

What I will say is, one day I was asked by an older gent, “did you ever play against girls when you were at school or after school sports” the answer was yes, both soccer and cricket up until the age of about 12, then they stopped playing. Then he said, was that their decision or someone else’s? I couldn’t answer that.

Point is, the girls I played with/against loved it and i can only put it down to puberty, the fact Women are now choosing to entertain themselves in quality sport, I applaud there desire. The skillset will of course take time but if they continue in the vein they are going, it will be sooner rather than later of being an all round enjoyable spectacle.

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I don’t watch the woman’s games, but that might change if we had our own team.

Watching the dragons vs the roosters before todays game comes on.

I reckon either of these teams would beat the mens Tigers at the moment :rofl:

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Good news on the Panthers front regarding a NRLW team. The NRL has been pushing for a team to be in Penrith, and it seems from the General Meeting last week it seem the Panthers are very keen on having a NRLW side.

From the Masked Panther at Western Weekender…

Backing the girls

I mentioned a few weeks ago that the NRL is very keen for the Panthers to have an NRLW team, and the club has now confirmed its intent to join the competition.

At the club’s Annual General Meeting last week, it was noted that the club had a strong interest in joining the competition, which is expanding in 2023 and again in 2024.

The Panthers’ Board is likely to take an “as soon as possible” approach to the team, but that could still be 2024 – the club is keen to get everything right, including facilities for the players.


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In regard to contact sport, we all have an opinion, and I can’t see any particular view being inherently right or wrong. There is a cultural element at play here, too. But boxing is an entirely different matter. The ultimate aim of boxing is to inflict brain injury (that is, after all, what a KO is). This is precisely why a whole raft of rules and regulations have been instituted in both forms of rugby, as we begin to recognise the long term consequences or repetitive concussive events. And let’s be clear about head concussive injury; humans can’t fly, can stay underwater, aren’t fast runners or even particularly strong, but we control the world because of two feature – an opposable thumb and the most intellectually developed brain on the planet. So why sanction, as a ‘sport’, an activity that aims to damage that faculty. It’s brutal, destructive, barbaric and it’s madness.


“Life is a gamble. You can get hurt , but people die in plane crashes,
lose their arms and legs in car accidents. People die every day.
Same with fighters. Some die, some get hurt, some go on. You just
don’t let yourself believe it will happen to you.”

  • quote … Muhammed Ali.

Yet when asked why he didn’t play football in his youth Ali replied …
“You can get hurt playin football”.

… and his brain turned to mush …

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" and then God tries you, takes your health and fixes it so it’s hard to walk, hard to talk.
I’m thankful to God that I understand he’s trying me. He gave me this illness to remind me.
I’m not number one, he is. " -. Ali again.

From the Masked Panther in the Western Weekender today, Panthers have lodged an application for a NRLW team for the 2024 season.

NRLW expansion

The Panthers have formally applied for entry into the NRLW competition, but my understanding is the club wishes to be part of the 2024 expansion to 10 teams, not the 2023 move to eight teams.

The NRL is very keen for Penrith to be represented in the women’s competition, so you can rest assured entry into the league is a formality.



Club Statement: NRLW submission

Panthers Media | 15 June 2022

The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) has today approved the addition of four new teams to an expanded NRL Telstra Women’s Premiership competition in 2023.

The club would like to congratulate Cronulla Sharks, Canberra Raiders, North Queensland Cowboys and Wests Tigers on their admission to the premiership next year.

The NRL has informed Panthers that although the club did not receive an NRLW licence at this expansion point does not mean that the opportunity is lost for the foreseeable future.

The club will continue to work with the NRL to ensure the club is in the best position to enter the NRLW competition in the next expansion phase.

At present the Penrith district is home to more than 1,000 junior and senior female players and remains a key growth area for women’s rugby league.

The club’s Tarsha Gale Cup team will once again feature in the NSWRL competition in the 2023 season.

Panthers will continue to work with stakeholders, players and staff to ensure women’s rugby league is a key feature of the junior pathways program.


The expansion Teams for the 2023 season are Cronulla Sharks, Canberra Raiders, North Queensland Cowboys and Wests Tigers.

The number of applications has resulted in the NRL expanding the entire 4 teams in 2023, rather then two in 2023 and two in 2024.

The NRL has not made any decisions as whether to expand further in 2024, and I’m sure that will be a point of discussion as to my knowledge almost every NRL team has submitted an application.

The Panthers application has stated the clubs desire to enter the competition in 2024. With those spot already allocated for the 2023 season, I think it would be a reasonable assumption there will most likely be another 2 team expansion in 2024 in lines with the original plan.

Stay Tuned.