The nib Newcastle Knights are pleased to announce the signing of NSW Origin representative and Jillaroo, Hannah Southwell, for the upcoming 2022 NRLW season.
Born and bred in Newcastle, Southwell is a Kotara Bears junior and has now been a part of the NRLW since its inception in 2018.
The lock-forwards first NRLW appearance was for the St George Illawarra Dragons before playing three seasons with the Sydney Roosters.
Southwell played an influential role in the Roosters premiership-winning campaign in the rescheduled 2021 season earlier this year.
Newcastle Knights and Wests Group CEO Philip Gardner said he was elated to have a player of Southwell’s calibre and experience join the Club.
“We are very excited to sign a premiership winner for our second season in the competition,” Gardner said.
“Hannah joins a very strong line-up for the upcoming season and it’s great to have a local junior return to the Club.”
Southwell: 'It's great to be home'
Southwell played rugby league up until the age of 13 before moving over to soccer and becoming the W-League’s youngest-ever goalkeeper at the age of 15 with the Newcastle Jets.
The cross-code star represented Australia Under 17’s and 19’s teams, while also earning a call-up to the Matildas squad.
In 2016, Southwell switched to another code in rugby sevens, highlighting her sporting talent to again represent her country.
Southwell moved back to rugby league in 2018 and made her debut for NSW in the same year before signing with the Dragons NRLW team.
At the end of the season, the forward was selected for the Jillaroos, joining a rare group of elite athletes to represent Australia in three different sports.
Returning to where it all began, Southwell said she was proud to represent her hometown.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity to be able to wear the red and blue colours, having grown up in Newcastle and loved watching the Knights,” Southwell said.
“I have fond memories of going to Knights games as a kid and watching the likes of the Johns brothers, Paul Harragon and Danny Buderus.
“It will be great to take on a leadership role within the playing group and the opportunity to potentially play with my sister Jesse down the track, is also a huge bonus.
“The pathways created for female participation in this area presents so many opportunities, I look forward to helping grow the game in the region.
“I believe we can build something special at the Club.”
Southwell has commenced playing for the Knights Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership side before preparations for the 2022 NRLW season commence in mid-July.