8 Nov 2018

Women's NRL expansion imminent

5:37 pm on 8 November 2018

The announcement of two additional teams for the women's NRL competition is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Kimiora Nati and Ngatokotoru Arakua with the Holden Premiership Trophy after the Broncos beat the Roosters.

Kimiora Nati and Ngatokotoru Arakua with the Holden Premiership Trophy after the Broncos beat the Roosters. Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2018 www.photosport.nz

After a successful first year of the women's NRL competition which saw the Brisbane Broncos take home the silverware two additional teams are expected to be included in the competition for 2019.

The Cronulla Sharks and the South Sydney Rabbitohs are tipped to be frontrunners to join the existing four teams the Warriors, Sydney Roosters, Illawarra Dragons and Broncos after unsuccessful bids to be part of the 2018 season.

Earlier this year Sharks chairman Dino Mezzatesta and Football Club CEO Barry Russell together with representatives of the Rabbitohs met with the NRL Chairman Peter Beattie and CEO Todd Greenberg to discuss their exclusion after considering themselves one of the pioneers of the women's game.

Due to geographical reach their bids to submit a team were denied but the competition would always be up for review at the conclusion of 2018.

The season is also set to extend significantly for up to eight weeks as opposed to this year's format of five which aligned alongside the men's finals series.

Those announced in the Māori Ferns side due to play on February 15th in Melbourne against the Australian Indigenous hold an advantage with training continuing through the summer.

Of the 30 announced for the upcoming 'All Stars' match, 16 played in one of the four women's team in the inaugural season.

The Māori Ferns final 20 will be announced on January 10th and up until then will be training with a strict fitness focus for the Maori Ferns match and beyond.

"The NRL will be making some announcements in the next few weeks on their plans for expansion looking to improve on what they started this year," says Māori Ferns coach Rusty Matua

"This was always the hope to have around eight teams by 2020 so next year they are looking to include two teams into the women's comp, that's looking like the Shark and Rabbitohs then looking to add two more teams in 2020."

"From the girls I have spoken to who took part this year both in New Zealand and Australia they are so happy that their chosen sport is giving them the opportunity to go professional."