NRL 10 months ago

NSWRL targets elite women's competition

  • NSWRL targets elite women's competition

    NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 06: Samantha Bremner of the Jillaroos is tackled during the Women's international Rugby League Test match between the Australian Jillaroos and New Zealand Kiwi Ferns at Hunter Stadium on May 6, 2016 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The NSWRL has announced plans to launch the state's first elite women's rugby league competition within three years.

The state's governing body on Wednesday announced an under-18 women's nines competition would launch next season.

The competition, the Tarsha Gale Nines, will be run alongside the state-based junior men's representative competitions, SG Ball and Harold Matthews Cup.

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It's not known how many teams will take part and the NSWRL has called for expressions of interest, however NRL clubs including Cronulla have expressed support for the project.

The NSWRL will launch an under-16s women's nines competition in 2018 and expected to roll out an open age 13-a-side division the year after.

Women is the fastest growing participation segment for the NSWRL and that trend is expected to continue following the state's drought-breaking win last month in the Interstate Challenge against Queensland.

Previously, there had been a gap in elite pathways for women leading to many players being lost to the game and NSW State of Origin coach Laurie Daley said the Tarsha Gale Nines was focused on addressing that.

"I think women's rugby league over the last couple of years has just exceeded everyone's expectations," Daley said.

"There's always been keen interest in rugby league for women as spectators but the last five to 10 years has been a big increase in participation.

"So when that increase came, we just didn't have that pathway in place."

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