NRLW: Statement on the expansion of NRLW

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

The Commission has confirmed that Canberra Raiders, Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, North Queensland Cowboys and Wests Tigers will be admitted to the Premiership in 2023.

The additional squads will ensure the NRLW competition is represented from Townsville in Far North Queensland to Canberra, with three clubs in Queensland, six in NSW and one in the ACT.

Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V’landys AM said the growth of women’s football was a priority for the Commission, from grassroots to the top flight, and that the four teams would bring a significant contribution to the new competition in 2023.

“We have a plan to invest in women’s football at all levels. We have seen with the quality of the 2021 NRLW Premiership and the tremendous growth in women’s participation that we have the capacity for sustainable growth,” Mr V’landys said.

“The Commission has once again demonstrated that women’s football is a strategic priority. The quality of the Club’s submissions was excellent. The Commission had always left the door open to move to a 10-team competition based on the quality of applicants, and we have seen this both in the success of the 2021 Premiership and in the quality and applications of clubs.

National Rugby League CEO Andrew Abdo says the expansion of the NRLW Premiership to a 10-team competition is a watershed moment for the sport.

“Today is another exciting step in the growth of the Women’s Premiership,” said Mr Abdo.

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

“We will continue to work with all NRL clubs on expansion plans beyond 2023 and the right time for each club to potentially enter the NRW Premiership.”

Mr Abdo acknowledged and thanked key partners for their investment, including naming rights partner Telstra and broadcasters Nine and Fox Sports.