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A New Dawn: Knights to enter NRLW in 2021

The nib Newcastle Knights are delighted to confirm the Club has been granted a licence to compete in the 2021 National Rugby League Women’s (NRLW) competition.

The historic news was made public at Rugby League Central in Sydney today, with CEO Mr Philip Gardner in attendance to celebrate the announcement.

Mr Gardner said he couldn’t be more excited to confirm the news.

“This is a very special moment for our Club, our city and our region,” he said.

“It’s reminiscent of when the Club was founded back in 1988, when a young and willing group of players got their chance to create a piece of history. This is the next big step forward. 

“To have an inaugural NRLW team based out of northern NSW, wearing Knights colours, representing everyone from the Hawkesbury River to the Queensland border, is a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

Here. We. Come.

“Our foundation franchise presents a tremendous opportunity to create long-lasting player pathways. 

“In addition to hopefully welcoming back some of our region’s elite, we are looking forward to creating opportunities for players to represent their town, their region, their state and their country in the months and years to come.

Newcastle and the Hunter region have long been a nursery for both male and female NRL talent, with some of the competition’s existing players calling Newcastle home.

From grassroots all the way through to the elite level, women’s Rugby League continues to strengthen and grow throughout the area.

The Knights’ Tarsha Gale Cup squad won seven games in a row on their way to claiming this year’s minor premiership, while female participation in Rugby League, Tag and Touch Football has continued to rise in the area since 2015.

The inclusion of a Knights team now provides a direct pathway from these grassroots right through to the NRLW for girls and women from the Hawkesbury River to the Queensland border.

Recently retired Knights five-eighth Blake Green will take the reins of the team as Head Coach, with training set to get underway in July.

Green said he was looking forward to getting to work.

“We’re really excited to have the Newcastle Knights compete in the NRLW,” he said. 

“I can’t wait to play my part in creating the right environment and pathways for women in rugby league, especially here in Newcastle.  

“Our clear intention is to get this right from the start because we only have one opportunity to do so. 

“I will be leaning on all my learnings and experience from 14 seasons in the NRL, as well as a very strong staff and core group of players who will continue a great tradition of representing rugby league in the Hunter.”

First commencing in 2018, the NRLW has fast developed into one of Rugby League’s major showpieces, with the competition fought between four foundation Clubs: Brisbane Broncos, Sydney Roosters, St George Illawarra Dragons and New Zealand Warriors.

2021 will be the first season of expansion, with the Gold Coast Titans and Parramatta Eels joining the Knights as new entrants to a six-team competition, with the Warriors not taking part due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

Round One will commence on August 21, with the Knights to kick off their season at Stadium Australia in Sydney.

Be the first to support the historic team and register your interest for an NRLW membership HERE.