Parramatta Eels, Newcastle Knights, Gold Coast Titans to join field women’s rugby league sides

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The NRLW will expand to six teams in 2021, with the Gold Coast Titans, Newcastle Knights and Parramatta Eels all set to field sides in this year’s premiership.

The three clubs join the Dragons, Broncos and Roosters for the fourth iteration of the women’s competition, which will also be the first without the New Zealand Warriors.

The Warriors, who were one of the four foundation NRLW sides, made the decision to withdraw from this year’s season, citing uncertainty around border restrictions.

On Friday, NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said he was “confident” the Kiwi side would be able to re-enter the NRLW as part of the league’s plans to field eight teams next year.

The Titans, Knights and Eels are on board for what will be the longest NRLW season yet. The season is set to be played over seven weeks rather than four, featuring 18 games in total rather than seven.

“Today is a really special day for the game. Women’s rugby league is the fastest growing part of our sport, and it’s exciting to be in a position to expand the competition after the success of the last three seasons,’’ Abdo said.

“The NRLW competition has produced some of the best athletes in Australia, it’s captivated a new fan base and today’s expansion will give more players the opportunity to play in an elite competition.”

“I want to thank the Titans, Knights and Eels for their commitment to women’s rugby league. It’s an historic day for all clubs and an exciting day for their fans and of course the ongoing commitment of the Broncos, Dragons and Roosters.”

The NRLW will begin alongside round 23 of the men’s competition.

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