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Johnston and Parker recommit to Knights in NRLW

Premiership winners Caitlan Johnston and Shanice Parker have recommitted to the nib Newcastle Knights in the Telstra Women’s Premiership after signing multi-year deals with the Club ahead of season 2023.

Both players were stand out performers at last year’s Rugby League World Cup in England, with Johnston part of the World Cup winning Jillaroos side while Parker earned New Zealand selection after a stellar first year in Knights colours.

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Johnston became the first NRLW player ever signed by the Knights when she committed to her junior club ahead of the 2021 season.

The 22-year-old Belmont product is a graduate of the Knights pathways system, leading the Club to the 2019 Tarsha Gale Cup Grand Final and captaining the Indigenous All Stars to victory over the Maori All Stars in 2022 – the same month she was named a co-captain of the Knights for the COVID-delayed 2021 NRLW season.

Her massive year continued with State of Origin and Australian selection in and around being part of the Knights 2022 Premiership.

Johnston, who has signed a three-year deal through to the end of the 2025 season, says her return to the blue and red jersey was never in question.

“I’m really excited to re-sign with the Knights,” Johnston said.

“Being a local junior, there is no other place I would want to play my footy.

“Signing a multi-year deal is huge, it brings some security that hasn’t been able to be there in the past.

“It’s nice to be able to share the same vision as the Club, we know how special the connections are with this core group of players, especially some of the locals who have built this team together.

“Novocastrians love the Knights and we got to experience that last year, we respect the history of this club and want to create many more moments of our own together.”

24-year-old Parker was one of the stories of the 2022 season, playing all seven matches on the way to the Premiership just months after giving birth to her son, Jakari.

The hard running centre, who has represented New Zealand, New Zealand Maori, and New South Wales during her career and is also the daughter of former Jillaroo Danielle Parker, has made a home in the Hunter and says she is thrilled to extend her time at the Knights.

“I am extremely humbled to sign on for another two years at the Knights,” Parker said.

“As a new Mum, I have made Newcastle my home and I am so proud to have been accepted into such a wonderful community.

“I am looking forward to building on my first year here in 2022 and I hope to be around for many more years to come.”