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History confirmed: Knights announce first NRLW signings

The nib Newcastle Knights inaugural NRLW squad will have a distinctly local feel with the club confirming the signing of seven Newcastle and Hunter based players ahead of the 2021 season, commencing in February 2022. 

In an historic announcement, NRLW and representative players Bobbi Law, Caitlan Johnston, Jayme Fressard and Georgia Page will be joined by Chantelle Graham, Kyra Simon and Phoebe Desmond in the first ever Newcastle Knights NRLW team, to be led by newly appointed Head Coach Casey Bromilow.

Newcastle Knights and Wests CEO, Mr Philip Gardner, stated the announcement is a major milestone for the NRLW team, heading into its inaugural season.

“This is a landmark moment in the history of the Newcastle Knights,” Gardner said.

“Our first ever NRLW signings are a fantastic result for women around the region and showcase our pathway to the elite competition of women’s rugby league.

“It reminds me of when the original men’s team was assembled in 1988, full of local players drawn directly from our local talent pool, brought together to form the Knights NRL foundation team.

“It will be a tremendous moment, especially when the side runs out for the first time at McDonald Jones Stadium.”

The 2021 season was originally scheduled for this year but was postponed to early 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indigenous All-Star, Caitlan Johnston, was announced as the first ever NRLW signing along with prodigious local talent, Kyra Simon.

The historic squad is starting to take shape with Bobbi Law joining the team, having previously played for Sydney Roosters NRLW, along with Indigenous All Stars and Prime Ministers XIII.

Gun outside-back, Jayme Fressard, brings invaluable playing experiences from key roles in the title-winning Brisbane Broncos side in 2020 and Australian rugby sevens teams.

Former St George Illawarra Dragons forward, Georgia Page, comes on board, adding another element from her time with Melbourne Rebels in the elite rugby union Super W competition.

Singleton’s Phoebe Desmond brings a wealth of experience to the squad, along with Souths Newcastle junior and Country Championships representative Chantelle Graham.

Adding to the announcement of the seven NRLW players, six development players have been included in the extended squad.

Bree Chester, Jesse Southwell, Kayla Romaniuk, Matilda Jones, Sophie Clancy and Tylah Vallance make up the development spots.

Newly appointed Head Coach, Casey Bromilow, said he’s very excited to see the maiden squad come together.

“I think we’ve got a really strong squad, now it’s about developing good people and building resilient rugby league players,” Bromilow said.

“We’ve got international and Origin players, along with some very young, ambitious, up-and-coming players, who are ready to make a name for themselves.

“Similar to the Knights approach in 1988 by recruiting a young playing group, we’ve followed a similar path finding players that we think we can build a strong foundation for the club.”

More signings will be announced in the coming weeks with the first game of the season scheduled for February 27 against the Parramatta Eels at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Local NRLW Signings

Bobbi Law, Caitlan Johnston, Jayme Fressard, Georgia Page, Chantelle Graham, Kyra Simon, Phoebe Desmond.

Development Squad

Bree Chester, Jesse Southwell, Kayla Romaniuk, Matilda Jones, Sophie Clancy, Tylah Vallance.