NRL could fast-track NRLW club expansion to 10 teams by 2023

The NRL could expedite the expansion of the women’s competition with officials seriously considering jumping straight from six to 10 teams next year.

Just two months after announcing a two-staged approach to expansion, the NRL is examining the merits of accelerating that process. 

Under the plan announced in March, the NRL would introduce two teams next year to take the competition to eight sides, before adding a further two in 2024.

However, the ARL Commission has since asked about the feasibility of going straight to 10, with the belief there was enough talent and player numbers to accelerate the expansion.

The decision would likely depend on whether an additional four teams would be ready in 14 months’ time, with the NRL seeing no point in holding back if that is the case.

Parramatta and Newcastle both debuted in the competition this year.(AAP: Darren Pateman)

Assisting that prospect are applications from North Queensland and Canberra, where a strong base of players already exist outside the current pool.

“We must invest at all levels of the game. We’ve had a terrific response from clubs and we are also seeing interest from growth areas where there is already strong participation as opposed to movement of players.”

The proposal is expected to be discussed at an ARLC meeting next week, before a final decision is made on licences by July.

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