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Home is where the heart is for Southwell sisters

NSW and Australian representative Hannah Southwell and 2022 NRLW Rookie of the Year Jesse Southwell have reaffirmed their commitment to their hometown Club by resigning with the nib Newcastle Knights on long term deals.

Both sisters have signed agreements with club for the upcoming 2023 NRL Telstra Women’s Premiership season, including terms that date through to the end of 2027.

The retention of the home-grown pairing comes off the back of the long-term signings of three-time Premiership winner and 2022 Karyn Murphy Medallist Tamika Upton and dual premiership winning teammate Yasmin Clydsdale.

24-year-old Hannah was co-captain of the 2022 Premiership winning Knights side having joined the Club from the Sydney Roosters, where she was a member of the 2021 title-winning team.

The five-time NSW representative and two-Test Jillaroo – one of an elite group of athletes to have represented Australia in three sports – is on track to make a return at the start of the 2023 season, after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament in her club debut in round one last year. 

Southwell sisters on re-signing news and playing for the red and blue

“I’m excited to sign a long-term contract and secure my future with the Knights,” Hannah said.

“This is where I have always wanted to play my footy.

“I have openly expressed my desire to play at the Knights with my sister Jesse and this deal ensures we can do that together for a long time.

“We are building a great squad, which is based on a team first attitude, we know this group will be happy to work really hard towards common goals and from my experience that is a good platform for success.”

18-year-old Jesse capped a meteoric rise in 2022 by guiding the Knights to Premiership victory, scoring a try, and kicking a goal in the Knights Grand Final victory over Parramatta.

She also collected a Commonwealth Games Gold Medal in rugby sevens during last season before being named the best new talent in the competition at the Dally M Medal night.

“2022 was a bit of a blur but I would not change it for the world,” Jesse said.

“We will re-sign the large majority of last year squad, who will be so much better for the experience, especially with Hannah, Yasmin and Tamika leading us into another strong competition.

“There will be a new set of challenges for 2023, but with the squad we are assembling here in Newcastle, including some new additions, I look forward to another very enjoyable year.

Knights Director of Football Peter Parr says the foundation provided by Upton, Clydsdale and the Southwells, along with the signings still to come, will stand the Club in good stead for 2023 and beyond.

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“Hannah provides talent, experience and leadership and we are delighted to have her commit long term,” Parr said.

“Jesse has the potential to be a generational player, the skill and composure she shows at such a young age is special.

“We are excited about what the future holds and thrilled they have committed to their hometown”.

Newcastle Knights 2023 NRLW players will start official duties when the squad assembles for preseason training in late May. More signings will be announced in the near future.